Old Stone House
The Old Stone House in Washington, D.C., is the oldest building in the District of Columbia. Currently overseen by the National Park Service, the Old Stone House serves to celebrate the everyday lives of early settlers and residents of Georgetown. The House has in it a bookstore, a garden, and a self-guided walking tour.
Backstory and Context
In 1764, the plot for the Old Stone House was bought by settlers Christopher and Rachael Layman, who sought to make a new life in Georgetown for themselves and their two sons. The Laymans paid for the construction of the house and used local materials, such as blue fieldstone and oak boards. The house was simple, but functional, and it served the purposes of the Layman family, who soon began growing crops and raising farm animals after construction on the house was finished. However, Christopher died in 1767, and Rachel remarried and sold the Old Stone House to a widow, Cassandra Chew.
Cassandra had a significant amount
of wealth, being part of the upper middle class, and she owned numerous other
properties and slaves. After purchasing the Old Stone House, she began further
construction on the house, adding a second and third floor, as well as another
kitchen, all of which were completed by 1775. Cassandra died in 1807, however,
and Old Stone House was given to her eldest daughter, Mary Smith Brumley, who
ran a business out of the front room of the house. For some time, the Old Stone
House was sold and bought multiple times as a private home, and in 1953, the
federal government purchased the property, as it was a place of historical
significance. The House underwent a great deal of refurbishing, and in 1960,
the Old Stone House was opened as a historical reservation location.