About

About Duddington Place, SE

Here’s an excerpt of an article with a bit of history of the block (borrowed from: http://capitolhillhistory.org/lectures/vlach/)

“Duddington,” Daniel Carroll’s great mansion house, was the centerpiece of an estate that covered much of the area that would become the Mall and the entire western end of Capitol Hill from the Anacostia up to K Street, NE [Figs. 10-11]. His house and its dependencies occupied the full block bounded by 1st and 2nd, E and F Streets, SE. A map drawn by Nicholas King in 1796 indicates, in addition to the main house and its garden, a barn and stable, a slave quarter, a springhouse, a bathhouse, and other dependencies [Fig. 27].

This was definitely one the more lavish plantation settings in the District of Columbia . The impressive house, begun in 1791 and completed by architect Benjamin Latrobe in 1797, was Carroll’s second attempt to build a house at this site [Fig. 28]. The first building, located approximately half a block to the west, had projected a few feet into the future path of New Jersey Avenue, SE and thus was torn down on L’Enfant’s order. The designer of the capital city would not allow his grand plan to be violated in any manner.

Carroll, of course, protested and was compensated for his loss with a financial settlement approved by President Washington. Becoming more wary about his selection of a house site, his second house was sited well away from New Jersey Avenue and fully within the boundaries of block No. 736.

While the house was torn down in 1886 there are surviving photographs that reveal its former grandeur. One interesting image made in 1862 shows Carroll’s descendents on the porch of the house being served by one of their African-American bondsmen [Fig. 29 ]. In Carroll’s day, he owned as many as twenty-five slaves who not only worked in house but who also watched over his livestock and cultivated stands of corn and tobacco. The enormity of the place as it stood on a high ridge overlooking both the Potomac and the Anacostia was remarked upon late into the nineteenth century even as the mansion was falling into ruins.

In an 1889 article appearing in the Century Magazine [Fig. 30] Mary Lockwood wrote of her visit to Duddington in its twilight years:

We entered the grounds … The sun had ceased making shadows over Arlington Heights . We clambered up the rude steps that had been made of earth, and byclutching the underbrush, scrambled to the top of the hill, where we found instead of velvet lawns and fertile meadows, primeval forest. We found on the place an old colored man 80 years of age, who was born there and had been a slave.

While the house is gone and its grounds are all covered by row houses [Fig. 31], there is still a remembrance of Daniel Carroll in the name of the one-block-long street that now divides the old block into two sections. The street sign reads ” Duddington Place .”

Please email duddingtonplace@gmail.com with any tidbits of history or anything else you’d like to see here!

Do you have a historical account or article about Duddington Place? Please either scan/email or drop it off 134 Duddington (and I’ll do it for you) so we can post it here.

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