Woodrow Wilson House

Historic Site
Woodrow Wilson House photo
Courtesy of the Woodrow Wilson House
A memorial to the late president and his second wife, Edith.
Tue-Sun 10 am-4 pm
(Dupont Circle)
Dupont Circle (Red Line)
$7.50, seniors $6.50, students $3, age 6 and younger free

Editorial Review

Historical importance: This Georgian Revival mansion near Embassy Row is where the 28th president, Woodrow Wilson, spent the last three years of his life and where he died Feb. 3, 1924. He never recovered from a stroke in 1919 that left him paralyzed on his left side and blind in that eye, so the house was fitted with an elevator and otherwise adapted. His widow, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, lived there until her death in 1961, preserving as much as possible and leaving it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Wilson served two terms, from 1913 to 1921. He based his second campaign on having kept the United States out of World War I, the "war to end all wars," but a year later called on Congress to join the conflict to make the world "safe for democracy."

Tour highlights: Because Wilson liked Lincoln's seven-foot bed, his wife had a replica made for him. The people of France gave Wilson a wall-size tapestry, and Pope Benedict XV gave him a mosaic of St. Peter from the Vatican. The stove is half gas-fired, half coal, and has an early "slow cooker" on the side. The seven-piece desk set is Tiffany. The graphoscope is a kind of antique movie projector; a screen hangs over the bookcase in the study. The World War I artillery shell on the bedroom mantel is said to have been the first fired by American forces. Doctors used a "shock box" of glass instruments to try to strengthen Wilson's paralyzed muscles. His 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost got six miles per gallon.

Bring the kids? There is plenty of odd stuff here to fascinate almost any age. Strollers allowed.

Tour information: Open for guided tours (45 minutes to an hour) Tuesday-Sunday from 10 to 4. $7.50, age 62 and older $6.50, students $3, age 6 and younger free.

Wheelchair access: Understandably good.

While in the neighborhood: The Textile Museum is just up the street at 2320 S. St. NW; the Phillips Collection art museum is at 1600 21st NW.

Fun fact: Wilson was a Washington Senators fan and often sat in his car beyond the outfield to avoid being a distraction.