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No Pamphlet or Ticket
February 10th, 2008
The Old Stone House is located on M Street in Georgetown, and is the oldest freestanding building on the Nation's capitol. The house was built by Christopher Layman, who a cabinetmaker by trade. He used it as a residence and a shop. The house was purchased in 1953 by the U.S. Government and is currently open to the public because it's a gift shop. Although there have been attempts to prove that the Old Stone House was either George Washington's Engineering Headquarters and/or Suters Tavern, neither theory has been substantiated. The house is a good surviving example of pre-Revolutionary American vernacular architecture. (Taken from official page).
Today, you'll find this little house almost invisible. It's nestled between various shops and restaurants. Georgetown is noted for his rows of town homes, much of which are quite old.
The house consists of 6 rooms and the furnishings of the house are based on an inventory at the time of Layman's death and fragments of pottery and glassware found during restoration, as well as a study of how people of slender means lived during the period. Even though the inventory counted every button, only one table is listed along with bedsteads and chests, one towel, no chairs, and two Pennsylvania Dutch Bibles.
The Old Stone House is open 9 am - 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, New Years, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's free and open to the public. There is a gift shop but no public restrooms etc. You should plan to bring money to park. Either you will park in an underground lot where you'll pay by the hour or day, or you'll street park (nearly impossible to do and requires not only parallel parking but dodging people who jaywalk, motorcycles and traffic who don't pay attention. This is a very trafficked street.... so much so it will take you up to 20 minutes to go a few short blocks. It is best you park somewhere else and take the metro in if you don't want to pay for underground parking. This is a short walking distance to the very beautiful Georgetown Mall, which is underground partly and submerged amongst other retail shops; it's not noticeable like regular malls are... so ask the locals where the entrance is. Once inside, you'll be glad you paid the visit; it's a very pretty mall; especially during the Winter Holiday season. Bring good walking shoes and water and a camera. Bring LOTS of cash to shop the wonderful stores there and eat at local bistros, jazz clubs or cafes.
Above: Outside the Old Stone House taken from car as driving by.