Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Woodrow Wilson House

2340 S Street, NW (north of Sheridan Circle off Mass. Ave.); 202.387.4062
$7.50 Adults; $6.50 Seniors; $3.00 Students; Free for National Trust members.
10a-4p, Tues-Sun.; closed Mondays and major holidays.

A property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Woodrow Wilson House is a national historic landmark museum that focuses on President Woodrow Wilson's Washington years (1912-1924). It was the final home of our 28th president and remains today as it was when he lived there.

Built in 1915 in the Kalorama neighborhood (Embassy Row), the brick house is a fine example of Georgian revival style. After purchasing the property in 1921, Wilson and his wife Edith remodeled it to suit their needs. The structure and its interior have been carefully preserved to reflect the era of their residence here. Although Wilson died in 1924, his widow lived on in the house until her death in 1961, on the very day she was to be the guest of honor at the opening of the Woodrow Wilson bridge that spans the Potomac just south of Washington.

Guided tours are preceded by a video presentation, using historical footage that enables visitors to understand the house and artifacts in the context of their time.

Trivia: The Steinway grand piano in the drawing room is the one that Wilson moved into the White House from his home in Princeton, NJ. When the Wilsons left the White House for S Street in 1921, they took it with them. The Steinway factory restored this piano in 2007.

Facts about Woodrow Wilson:
Was the first lay (non-minister) president of Princeton University.
Established the national observance of Mother's Day.
Is the image on the $100,000 bill (no longer in circulation).
First president to hold an earned doctoral degree.
During his term: the Internal Revenue Service was created, income tax was initiated, women received the right to vote (19th amendment of 1920) and prohibition was ratified in 1919.

Is buried inside Washington National Cathedral, and remains the only president to be buried in DC. His tomb stands in front of a stained glass window titled "War & Peace," in reference to his peace efforts after WWI.

On December 28, 1923, Woodrow Wilson’s 67th birthday, the former President found an extraordinary present outside his house on S Street: a brand new Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Touring Car. The car was a gift from four of Wilson’s closest Princeton friends. The order for this new Rolls Royce was placed on September 10, 1923. The car had special coachwork: an “Oxford” six passenger summer touring body with narrow orange trim on black paint (representing the Princeton colors) and a winter limousine body. The six cylinder car held 25 gallons of gas, could get six miles per gallon and cost $12,782.75.

In this photo, Wilson's 1923 Rolls Royce is shown as the first car to cross the newly opened 2006 Woodrow Wilson Bridge spanning the Potomac in Washington, DC. The car is on view at Wilson's home on S Street.

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