Cedar Hill

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site 1411 W Street Southeast Washington

VAMONDE Washington D.C.
Written By VAMONDE Washington D.C.

Cedar Hill mansion is the historic home of the great abolitionist, orator, writer, social rights activist, and statesman, Frederick Douglass. It is located within the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington DC. Douglass lived here for the last seventeen years of his life.

Cedar Hill was purchased as a symbolic gift to Douglass' first wife, Anna. It cost $6,700 back in 1877, which is equivalent to 1.3 million in today's dollars. Both Frederick and Anna were entrepreneurs who became wealthy from their business endeavors.

Cedar Hill is perched on top of a hill, offering sweeping views of downtown DC. Inside the 21-room Victorian mansion, the walls are lined with pictures of great abolitionists. There is a music room where Douglass played classical piano, the desk where he wrote his famous speeches, and the chair where he welcomed visitors. Also on display are pantry items of the time, household gadgets Douglass liked to collect (including his own barbells), and original furnishings.

The grounds and Visitor Center are open to everyone, but if you want to tour the house, you must do so with a Park Ranger. Reservations for the house tour are strongly encouraged and it is recommended they be made at least one day in advance. The grounds surrounding Cedar Hill are lovely to explore as well, with seasonal flora and fauna and an outbuilding called The Growlery that Douglass used as a private study.

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