The presidential mansions of New York City

Before the District of Columbia became home base for the president, New York had that honor.

So after he was sworn into office at Federal Hall on Wall Street in April 1789, George Washington moved into One Cherry Street.

Known as the Samuel Osgood House (at right), it was considered one of the finest in the city, “brick, square, and spacious.”

It had “the best of furniture in every room, and the greatest quantity of plate and china I ever saw,” an acquaintance wrote. “The whole of the first and second story is papered, and the floor covered with the richest of carpets.”

The mansion was open to the public on Thursday afternoons, when President Washington received visitors “of respectable appearance.”

The Osgood house wasn’t the only presidential mansion in New York.

In February 1790, the Washingtons moved into the Macomb Mansion at 39 Broadway on Bowling Green (at left, in an 1830s sketch).

It was a grander home that better accommodated his staff and visitors (depicted in the painting above) with a view of the Hudson.

They didn’t last long there. In August 1790, they decamped to Philadelphia, the new presidential host city, while a permanent home was being built on a swamp between Maryland and Virginia.

The Washingtons never lived in the D.C. White House, of course; the first occupant was the second U.S. president, John Adams.

[First and Third images: NYPL Digital Collection. Painting by Daniel Huntington, 1861]

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6 Responses to “The presidential mansions of New York City”

  1. Joe R Says:

    Under the Brooklyn Bridg, at Pearl Street and Dover Street, there is a small bronze plaque (very hard to find due to endless construction) stating that Washington had lived at that spot when President. Looking at a map, it seems possible that Cherry Street extended this far some time before the Alfred E Smith Houses were built.

  2. Benjamin Waldman Says:

    You provide really interesting deatils. There is also a plaque on Broadway where the Macomb mansion was located. It’s impressive how much presidential history is in NYC.

  3. dan Says:

    Wouldn’t the foot of Cherry Street been all docks and waterfront by this point? Or was this before it became all run-down?

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    The mansion was at the corner of Cherry and Pearl, which was the center of the little city then.

  5. Thomas X. Casey Says:

    Lets not forget the Bronx! One of the leading supporters of the American Revolution, John Adams was elected the second President of the United States. His daughter married Captain William Smith, and they owned a farm in Eastchester, at today’s Boston Road and Connor Street near Co-op City. In October, 1797, President Adams, on his way to Philadelphia for the opening of Congress, stayed at the Bronx farm waiting out a yellow fever epidemic. For several weeks, he governed the country from The Bronx.

  6. Remnants of four obsolete Brooklyn street names | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Street? Named for an early New York merchant and land surveyor, the road was renamed Garfield Place after the assassination of President Garfield in 1881 […]

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