NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, Lafayette Square, Architecturally Significant, Civil War Era, Diplomats, Federal Government Employees, Journalists, Lawyers, Also of Interest

John Hay
(October 8, 1838 – July 1, 1905)

The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Lafayette Square neighborhood, DC

Hay moved to DC to serve as one of two personal secretaries to President Abraham Lincoln, living in the White House beginning at age 22, sharing a second floor bedroom in the northeast corner of the residence. Hay trained as a lawyer, and other than six years as a journalist for the New York Tribune, he spent his career in government.

Hay is the author of a novel, The Bread-Winners (1883), a travel memoir, Castilian Days (1875), and two books of poems, Pike County Ballads (1871), and Poems (1890). He co-authored with John G. Nicolay, the biography Abraham Lincoln: A History (1890).

Hay held diplomatic posts in France, Spain, Austria, and the United Kingdom. He was Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. He was one of the first seven people elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1904.

Hay lived in a few other DC locations, none of which still stand. His grand mansion on Lafayette Square, built on the same property as the home of his best friend, Henry Adams, is now the site of the Hay-Adams Hotel.

Architect: James Hoban (with Benjamin H. Latrobe). Year: 1803.
Built of Aquia Creek sandstone, this 130-room Neoclassical mansion was largely destroyed by arson during the War of 1812, and reconstructed in 1817. Additions include the South Portico (1824), the North Portico (1829), the West Wing (1901), and the Oval Office (1909). In 1949, the inside was completely gutted to stabilize the building with steel framing. The grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. in 1935. The mansion was named a National Historic Landmark in 1960.