Alexander Macomb House

The Alexander Macomb House (demolished) at 39–41 Broadway in Manhattan served as the second Presidential Mansion. President George Washington occupied it from February 23 to August 30, 1790, during New York City's two-year term as the national capital.

Alexander Macomb (1748–1831) was an Irish-born American merchant and land speculator. He built the four-story city house on the west side of Broadway in 1786–88. Macomb leased it to the French Minister Plenipotentiary, the Comte de Moustier, who occupied it until his return to Paris in early 1790. President Washington purchased furniture, mirrors and draperies from the departing Minister with his own money, including American-made furniture in the French style. Some of these items survive at Mount Vernon and elsewhere.[1]

The first Presidential Mansion was the Samuel Osgood House at 3 Cherry Street[2] in Manhattan, which Washington occupied from April 23, 1789 to February 23, 1790. He had been living there a week before his April 30, 1789, inauguration as the first President of the United States. The Osgood House (demolished 1856) was in the most congested part of Manhattan, near the port along the East River, and Washington found it cramped for his presidential household. The Macomb House was significantly larger, located in a neighborhood just north of the Bowling Green, with an extraordinary view of the Hudson River out its rear windows.

Brooklyn Museum - The Republican Court (Lady Washington's Reception Day) - Daniel Huntington - overall
The Republican Court: Lady Washington's Reception Day by Daniel Huntington (c. 1861). This fanciful painting depicts the Macomb House.[3]

The presidential household functioned with a staff of about 20, composed of wage workers, indentured servants and enslaved servants. Slavery was legal in New York, and Washington brought 7 enslaved Africans from Mount Vernon to work in his presidential household: William Lee, Christopher Sheels, Giles, Paris, Austin, Moll, and Oney Judge.[4]

Two of Martha Washington's grandchildren were part of the First Family: Nelly Custis (born 1779) and "Wash" Custis (born 1781).

Under the July 1790 Residence Act, the national capital moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a 10-year period while the permanent national capital was under construction in the District of Columbia. Washington vacated the Macomb House on August 30, 1790, and returned to Mount Vernon, stopping in Philadelphia to examine what was to become the third Presidential Mansion, the Masters–Penn–Morris House at 190 High Street.

In 1821, the Macomb House was converted into Bunker's Mansion House Hotel: "Bunker's Mansion House, a famous hotel, was situated at No. 39 Broadway, and was a large double-brick house, erected in 1786 by General Alexander Macomb as a residence for himself. It was a most comfortable and well-conducted hotel, and was patronized largely by Southern families. Bunker, who was noted for his affability to his customers, grew rich rapidly, and eventually sold the property and retired from business."[5]

In 1939, the Daughters of the Revolution erected a bronze plaque at 39 Broadway.[6]

Alexander Macomb House
New York Second Presidential Mansion
Second Presidential Mansion,
occupied by George Washington,
February–August 1790.
Former namesMansion House Hotel
Bunker's Mansion House Hotel
General information
Address39-41 Broadway
Town or cityNew York, New York
Country United States
Coordinates40°42′23″N 74°00′48″W / 40.7063°N 74.0132°WCoordinates: 40°42′23″N 74°00′48″W / 40.7063°N 74.0132°W
Construction started1786-88
ClientAlexander Macomb

See also


  • At NYC auction in 1787, McComb purchased 19,840 acres in Range 2, Township 6 of the Northwest Territory; see Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 59, Vol. 3, pp. 135-140.
  • Decatur, Stephen Jr., The Private Affairs of George Washington (1933).
  • Miller, Agnes. "The Macomb House: Presidential Mansion". Michigan History, vol. 37 (December 1953): 373–384.
  1. ^ ""Plain for Its Situation" at". Archived from the original on 2011-08-18. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Mr. Huntington has in his famous painting of the Republican Court made the Macomb home on Broadway the background of his picture. This was a much more commodious house, to which the President and his family removed in the spring of 1790." Anne Hollingsworth Wharton, Salons Colonial and Republican (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1900), p. 52.
  4. ^ Biographical sketches Archived 2010-06-26 at the Wayback Machine from
  5. ^ James Grant Wilson, A Memorial History of the City of New York (1893), p. 365.
  6. ^ Site of Second Presidential Mansion from Historical Marker Database.

External links

1796 State of the Union Address

The 1796 State of the Union Address was given by George Washington, the first President of the United States, on Wednesday, December 7, 1796. It was given in Congress Hall, Philadelphia. He gave it directly to Congress. He began with, "In recurring to the internal situation of our country since I had last the pleasure to address you, I find ample reason for a renewed expression of that gratitude to the Ruler of the Universe which a continued series of prosperity has so often and so justly called forth." He ended with, "God's providential care may still be extended to the United States, that the virtue and happiness of the people may be preserved, and that the Government which they have instituted for the protection of their liberties may be perpetual."

A More Perfect Union (film)

A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation is a 1989 American feature film dramatizing the events of the 1787 Constitutional Convention. The film was produced by Brigham Young University to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the drafting of the United States Constitution, and many professors from BYU's School of Fine Arts and Communications were involved in its production either as actors or in other capacities. After its release, the film was officially recognized by the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution as "of exceptional merit".

Augustine Washington

Augustine Washington Sr. (November 12, 1694 – April 12, 1743) was the father of the first U.S. President George Washington. He belonged to the Colony of Virginia's landed gentry and was a planter and slaveholder.

George Washington (Bailly)

George Washington is a statue of George Washington, by Joseph A. Bailly at Independence Hall, Philadelphia on Chestnut street between 5th and 6th streets.

The white marble original, installed on the north side of Independence Hall, was dedicated on July 2, 1869, by mayor Daniel M. Fox. It is now located in Conversation Hall, Philadelphia City Hall.A bronze replica replaced the original, and was dedicated in October 1910.

George Washington (Fairbanks)

George Washington is a series of outdoor bronze busts depicting George Washington by Avard Fairbanks, located on the George Washington University campus in Washington, D.C.

George Washington (Trumbull)

George Washington is a 1780 portrait of George Washington by American artist John Trumbull which is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The oil on canvas painting measures 36 inches (0.91 m) x 28 inches (0.71 m). It depicts Washington standing near the Hudson River with his servant Billy Lee behind him. West Point can be seen in the distance.

Trumbull painted the picture from memory some five years after serving on Washington's staff during the American War of Independence.

The work is on view in the Metropolitan Museum's Gallery 753.

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John Washington

John Washington (1631–1677) was an English planter, soldier, and politician in colonial Virginia in North America. He was a lieutenant colonel in the local militia. Born in Hertfordshire, England, he settled in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the colonist paternal English ancestor and great-grandfather of George Washington, general of the Continental Army and first president of the United States of America.

Mount Vernon Conference

The Mount Vernon Conference was a meeting of delegates from Virginia and Maryland held March 21–28, 1785, to discuss navigational rights in the states' common waterways. On March 28, 1785, the group drew up a thirteen-point proposal to govern the two states' rights on the Potomac River, Pocomoke River, and Chesapeake Bay. Known as the Mount Vernon Compact, formally titled as the Compact of 1785, this agreement not only covered tidewater navigation but also extended to issues such as toll duties, commerce regulations, fishing rights, and debt collection. Ratified by the legislature of both states, the compact helped set a precedent for later meetings between states for discussions into areas of mutual concern.

Nelson (horse)

Nelson or Old Nelson was George Washington's horse and one of several horses owned by Washington. He was a chestnut with a white blaze ("white face") and white feet. The horse was acquired by Washington in 1779 and died in 1790 at about the age of 27, quite old for a horse in that era. As Washington was known for being a skilled horse rider, Nelson was a significant icon for a number of years, being one of Washington's favorite horses.

Newburgh letter

On May 22, 1782, the Newburgh letter was sent to George Washington who was camped at Newburgh, New York; written for the army officers by Colonel Lewis Nicola, it proposed that Washington should become the King of the United States. Washington reacted very strongly against the suggestion, and was greatly troubled by it.The letter could in many ways have been a turning point in American history. Nicola's proposal, while never fully formed, would not be suggesting tyranny (he rejected how others equated monarchy and tyranny) but instead a constitutional monarchy. The letter can be considered part of the Newburgh Conspiracy and the first grievance that Nicola highlights is the lack of adequate payment for troops.

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Samuel Osgood House

The Samuel Osgood House (demolished in 1856), also known as the Walter Franklin House, was an eighteenth-century mansion at the northeast corner of Pearl and Cherry Streets in Manhattan. It served as the first Presidential Mansion, housing George Washington, his family, and household staff, from April 23, 1789, to February 23, 1790, during New York City's two-year term as the national capital.

The owner, Samuel Osgood, was a Massachusetts politician and lawyer, who settled in New York City. He married Maria Bowne Franklin, widow of Walter Franklin, the merchant who had built the house in 1770. Congress rented it for Washington's use, and the President-Elect moved in a week before his April 30, 1789, inauguration as first President of the United States. In addition to living quarters, the Osgood House contained the President's private office (the equivalent of the Oval Office) and the public business office (the equivalent of the West Wing), making it the first seat of the executive branch of the federal government.

The Samuel Osgood Papers, at the New York Historical Society, list purchases made to prepare the mansion for Washington occupancy.

I went the morning before the General's arrival to look at it. The best of furniture in every room, and the greatest quantity of plate and china I ever saw; the whole of the first and second stories is papered and the floors covered with the richest kinds of Turkey and Wilton carpets. There is scarcely anything talked about now but General Washington and the Palace.

Steward Samuel Fraunces, former owner of nearby Fraunces Tavern, managed a household staff of about 20: wage workers, indentured servants, and enslaved servants. Slavery was legal in New York, and Washington brought seven enslaved Africans from Mount Vernon to work in his presidential household: William Lee, Christopher Sheels, Giles, Paris, Austin, Moll, and Oney Judge.Two of Martha Washington's grandchildren were part of the First Family: Nelly Custis (b. 1779) and "Wash" Custis (b. 1781).Soon after his inauguration, Washington became seriously ill with a tumor on his thigh (possibly caused by anthrax poisoning). Cherry Street was cordoned off to prevent his being disturbed.The house was rented for one year at an annual rent of $845, but the president vacated it after ten months when a larger residence became available. Washington moved to the Alexander Macomb House at 39–41 Broadway, which he occupied from February 23 to August 30, 1790.

Under the July 1790 Residence Act, the national capital moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a 10-year period, while the permanent national capital was under construction in the District of Columbia.

The Osgood House was demolished in 1856. A bronze plaque where Pearl Street crosses under the Brooklyn Bridge approach marks its location.

Town Destroyer

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Virginia Association

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Washington's Crossing

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Washington Before Boston Medal

The Washington Before Boston Medal was the first medal commissioned by the Continental Congress and, being struck in gold, is the first Congressional Gold Medal.On March 25, 1776, Congress passed a resolution which read:

Resolved, That the thanks of this Congress, in their own name, and in the name of the thirteen United Colonies, whom they represent, be presented to His Excellency General Washington, and the officers and soldiers under his command, for their wise and spirited conduct in the siege and acquisition of Boston; and that a medal of gold be struck in commemoration of this great event, and presented to His Excellency; and that a committee of three be appointed to prepare a letter of thanks and a proper device for the medal.

Pierre-Simon-Benjamin Duvivier was commissioned to design and engrave the medal. Creating a medal during the American Revolutionary War was not a priority, and the medal was eventually struck in Paris and presented to Washington on March 21, 1790. The medal is currently possessed by the Boston Public Library.

Washington Monument (West Point)

The Washington Monument at West Point is an equestrian monument to George Washington at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The bronze replica of a sculpture that was originally designed by Henry Kirke Brown and erected in Union Square, New York City, in 1856— the first equestrian sculpture cast in the United States— was obtained for West Point by Clarence P. Towne and dedicated in 1916. It formerly sat at the north end of the Plain. After expansion of Washington Hall in 1971, it was moved to its current location outside the hall's front entrance.

Washington at Princeton

Washington at Princeton is a painting by Charles Willson Peale. The original was commissioned by the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania for its council chamber in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Peale made eight copies of the painting. The original, now owned by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, was completed in early 1779, when Washington sat for Peale in Philadelphia. In January 2005, the painting sold for $21.3 million - setting a record for the highest price paid for an American portrait. Six of the paintings are in United States institutions including the United States Senate; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Yale University Art Gallery; National Portrait Gallery; Colonial Williamsburg; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; and Princeton University Art Museum.

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