Frederick Douglass Historic Site
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, is located at 1411 W St., SE in Anacostia, a neighborhood east of the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, D.C.. Established in 1988 as a National Historic Site, the site preserves the home and estate of Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent African Americans of the 19th century. Douglass lived in this house, which he named Cedar Hill, from 1877 until his death in 1895. Perched high on a hilltop, the site also offers a sweeping view of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington D.C. skyline.
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is located about a ten-minute walk from the Anacostia Metro station, though walking from the station is often discouraged by National Mall information workers and tourist guide books, who recommend taking a taxi due to high crime in Southeast D.C.
The site of the Frederick Douglass home was originally purchased by John Van Hook c. 1855. Van Hook built the main portion of the present house soon after taking possession of the property. For a portion of 1877 the house was owned by the Freedom Savings and Trust Company. Later that year Douglass purchased it and eventually expanded its 14 rooms to 21, including two-story library and kitchen wings. The house has an "L" shape and its plan is reminiscent of the design of Andrew Jackson Downing.
After Douglass' death, his widow, Helen, founded the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association in 1900. In 1916, the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs joined with the association. These groups owned the house until 1962, when the federal government took the deed to the house through the National Park Service, with the intent of restoring and preserving it.
Also on site are an interpretive visitor center and Douglass's "Growlery", a small stone building in which he secluded himself while writing and studying.