Friday, October 21, 2011

The President's House Site: An Archaeological Find

(photo: TheHopefulTraveler)
Across Market Street from the Independence Visitor Center is the President's House Sit: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of New Nation. Above ground is an open-air installation of the long since demolished building that served as the "White House" from 1790 to 1800. Above ground is a composition of newly constructed walls and window and door silhouettes.

The long panels tell of some historical themes, including the slaves who worked in White House, but they are presented in an uninteresting way in dark tones and not friendly to read while standing in the chilly weather. The video screen on the site were either out of service or simply not turned on. Perhaps one day someone will build a miniature of the house as well of its interiors which would make a far more interesting exhibit.

Only George Washington and John Adams, the first two presidents of the United States, lived and worked in the mansion. The house was built in 1767 and served various purposes before becoming the "White House" for six years beginning in 1790. The last remains of the house was demolished in 1951 in the creation of Independence Mall.

Of more interest is a transparent wall that gives visitors a view of the archeological dig of the remnants of the original house. A New York Times article was highly critical of the $10.5 million exhibit which opened in 2010. Visit for more information. There is no admission to visit the attraction.


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