Lafayette Park

Lafayette Square: A stroll around the square reveals only a glimpse of its past and its evolution is a compelling American story. News accounts indicate that early settlers used the area as an orchard, gravesite, and slave market until the area was designated the seat of the nation’s capital. The executive mansion’s grand forecourt envisioned for this location never materialized because President Thomas Jefferson ordered construction of Pennsylvania Avenue to establish a public street and park. Subsequently, it was used as an encampment for workers and soldiers. After the War of 1812 and the Civil War, the square became the center of a prominent neighborhood of townhouse residences until the early twentieth century. Now the area is home primarily to the President’s executive offices and a guest house for visiting dignitaries.

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