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The Oldest Presidential Residence in the U.S. Reopens to the Public. Where it is?

Washington and his family.

Washington and his family. NPS image.

Washington slept here, and so did some of his family. Ironically, this house was previously occupied by his British adversary, Sir William Howe, during the American Revolution. It's the oldest surviving presidential residence in the country. Do you know where it's located?

After major renovation work, the Deshler-Morris House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is now open to the public, free of charge, from noon to 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays.

According to park publications,

The oldest official presidential residence, the Germantown White House, (Deshler-Morris House) twice sheltered George Washington. In October 1793, he found refuge during the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia. Continuing the business of government, he held four cabinet meetings here.

Washington returned to this house in the summer of 1794 with his wife Martha and their adopted grandchildren, Eleanor Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis. The summer break brought a welcome respite from the pressures of public life.

Young Washington, as he was called, attended the Germantown Union School, a short walk from the house. Eleanor "Nelly", was tutored at home. Martha raised flowers, the President posed for painter Gilbert Stuart and the family attended the German Reformed Church across the square from their house.

Ironically, the house that Washington used as President of the United States had been occupied by his British adversary, Sir William Howe. During the American Revolution, Philadelphia was captured by British troops in September, 1777, and the Continental Army withdrew to the northwest. In early October, a pursuing force of British reached Germantown. Howe used the Deshler-Morris House as headquarters while repulsing a determined but unsuccessful attack launched by General Washington.

The Deshler-Morris House gets its name from the first and last owners. David Deshler constructed a small summer house here in 1752. Twenty years later, he built a three story, nine room addition to the front of the house. Isaac Franks, a former Colonel in the Continental Army, purchased the house after Deshler died in 1792 then rented it to Washington. Franks later sold the house to the Morris family who purchased it and retained ownership until Elliston P. Morris donated it to the National Park Service in 1948.

The house is located at 5442 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144. The park website has driving directions, maps and information on how to reach the site via public transportation. The house is administered as part of Independence National Historical Park.


Is the Deshler-Morris house said to be haunted?

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