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St John's Church

  • Also Known As: St. John's Church (Episcopal)

  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Building

Long known as the Church of the Presidents, St John's Episcopal Church has served virtually as the chapel to the White House for nearly two centuries. Every President since James Madison has worshiped here on some occasion. As far back as 1816, records show that a committee was formed to wait on the President of the United States and offer him a pew. James Madison chose pew 54 and insisted on paying the customary annual rental. The next five Presidents in succession - James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison - occupied this pew during their terms of office. Since then, by tradition, pew 54 has been set aside for Presidents of the United States. There are other ways in which the church is further connected with Presidents. Many Presidents have been members of the church. James Madison's wife, Dolly, was baptized and confirmed here. Franklin D Roosevelt paid homage to tradition by spending a few minutes in prayer here on his two inauguration days. - NPS



Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1816/00/00 Benjamin H Latrobe Architect Designed by Benj Latrobe, St John's is built under his supervision. He declined to receive any compensation but the vestry voted him a pew free of rent. This he declined, expressing his preference for some token that he might transmit to his children.
1816/12/27 Being St John's Day, Bishop Kemp of Maryland performs the ceremonies of consecration, and religious services are conducted by the bishop and attendant clergy.
1817/00/00 Rev William Dickinson Hawley Vocation William Dickinson Hawley becomes rector of St John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square. He will serve as rector until 1845.
1826/00/00 John Quincy Adams Faith When John Q Adams is President, he occupies one of the four large pews which had been used by Henry Clay at regular Sunday service.
1849/07/16 Zachary Taylor Mourner Funeral sevices for Dolley Madison are held at St John's Church, Lafayette Square Funeral for Dolley Madison
1849/07/16 Dolley Madison In Memoriam Funeral sevices for Dolley Madison are held at St John's Church, Lafayette Square Funeral for Dolley Madison
1865/09/00 Rev Dr John V Lewis Vocation Rev John Vaughan Lewis is chosen rector of St John's Church. He will hold the office until his resignation in 1880.
1893/02/00 Samuel Sprigg Carroll In Memoriam Samuel S Carroll funeral is held in St John's Church in Washington, DC.
1910/00/00 George S Cooper Vocation Cooper's artistic skills are not limited to architecture. An accomplished vocalist, Cooper sings at services at two of Washington's prestigious Episcopal churches, the Church of the Incarnation and St John's on Sixteenth Street, and serves as president of
1954/02/00 John Forbes Nash Groom John Nash marries Alicia Lopez-Harrison


Ashburton House

Data »

Particulars for St John's Church:
Area of Significance Architecture
Criteria Architecture-Engineering
Sight Category Building
Architectural Style Federal Style
Criteria Historic Event
Level of Significance National
Area of Significance Politics-government
Owner Private
Historic Use Religious Property

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration:

Registry Name:
Registry Address:
Registry Number: 66000868
Resource Type:
Owner: Private
Architect: Labrobe,Benjamin H.; et al.
Architectural Style: Federal
Other Certification: Designated National Landmark, National Landmark boundary approved
Nominator Name: National Historic Landmark
Level of Significance: National
Area of Significance: Politics-government, Architecture
Applicable Criteria: Event, Architecture-Engineering
Criteria Consideration: Religious property
Period of Significance: 1800-1824
Significant Year: 1816
Historic Function: Religion
Historic Sub-Function: Religious structure
Current Function: Religion
Current Sub-Function: Religious structure

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