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This building was the historic home of General Oliver Otis Howard, a Unionist during the American Civil War and co-founder of Howard University - one of the earliest higher level institutions devoted to the education of freedmen. It served as his residence while he was president of the University between 1869 and 1874, and is the oldest surviving building in the campus. It was added to the list of National Historic Landmarks in Washington, D.C. in May, 1974.

  • Howard Hall in the 1870s (
  • Howard Hall exterior (
  • Howard Hall interior (
  • Howard Hall in 2013 (
  • General Oliver Otis Howard (

Oliver Otis Howard was born in Leeds, Maine on November 8, 1830. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1850, and would go on to study in the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where he would graduate in 1854. In May of 1861, shortly after the Battle of Ft. Sumter, Howard joined the 3rd Maine Volunteer Infantry. During his time in the infantry, he fought in the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861, campaigned during the Peninsular Campaign in 1862, and took part in the Battle of Antietam and the Battle of Seven Pines, where he would lose his right arm in the fight. Through his prowess during the Tennessee and Atlanta campaigns between 1863 and 1864 he was promoted to commander of the Army of the Tennessee.

Under the instructions of President Andrew Johnson, General Howard became Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands in 1865, and through his membership with the Missionary Society of the First Congregational Church of Washington helped to found Howard University on March 2, 1867, where he would become the third president of the university in 1869, a position that he served for until 1874. 

This three story building was General Howard's home. It is a Victorian-style mansion of sixteen rooms. The structure is made of white brick painted red (though it has since been painted white) atop a granite foundation, and includes a basement and tower-like fourth story on the southwest corner and French-style. Some alterations were made during its lifetime; for example, the original porch was removed, and the interior rooms were divided by partitions.

Accessed April 30th 2020.