The History Of Madison Place, Lafayette Square
The story of Madison Place on the east side of Lafayette Square is about the houses built there, the people who occupied them, and the major events which occurred there. Today, the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building and two houses dating back to the early 19th century - the Dolley Madison House and the Benjamin Ogle Tayloe House -– are part of the federal courts campus of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Only one short block and serving a different purpose in the current era, Madison Place is unique in providing a glimpse into America’s past when its houses served as the center of Washington’s social and diplomatic life and their occupants helped guide the nation through colorful, exciting and sometimes tragic years.
The renewal plan for the Lafayette Square area approved by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 recognized the importance of this historical place. While Congress approved the construction of two new federal buildings, one on each side of the Square, provision was made to preserve and restore the remaining residential houses, particularly the two on Madison Place. These old landmarks were among the few sites of the historical and cultural significance still remaining in the capital city.
This revision of the “Story of Madison Place, Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.” incorporates much of the original text which was published as part of the Federal Circuit Bar Association’s quarterly Journal in 1998. In the succeeding years, additional information concerning individuals and events who were part of the history of this place have been added. Of particular interest are the townhouses which were built on Madison Place in the 1870’s. They occupied the land between the Madison and Tayloe Houses for some 35 years, becoming part of the Cosmos Club property which included these two historic places in the early 1900’s. Additional photographs have been included centering on the one house which once stood on the site of the present National Courts Building and was most remembered for the events that took place there during the 19th century.
For additional information, please contact Maria Mirra at email@example.com.
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George E. Hutchinson
The Federal Circuit Historical Society
c/o Finnegan Henderson
901 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-4413
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