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Ashburton House
Ashburton House.jpg
Ashburton House is located in Central Washington, D.C.
Ashburton House
Location in Central Washington, D.C.
Ashburton House is located in the United States
Ashburton House
Location in the United States
Location 1525 H St., NW., Washington, D.C.
Built 1836 (1836)
Architect Matthew St. Clair Clarke
Part of Lafayette Square Historic District (ID70000833)
NRHP reference No. 73002071
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 7, 1973
Designated NHL November 7, 1973
Designated NHLDCP August 29, 1970

Ashburton House, also known as St. John's Church Parish House or the British Legation, is a historic house at 1525 H Street NW, on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. Built in 1836, it is notable as the residence of Lord Ashburton in 1842, during which time negotiations took place there culminating the Webster–Ashburton Treaty. This settled a long list of border disputes between the U.S. and the British provinces that are now Canada, and ended the Aroostook War. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973. It presently serves as the parish house for St. John's Episcopal Church.

Description and history

Ashburton House stands on the north side of H Street, facing Lafayette Square to the south, just east of St. John's Episcopal Church, to which it is now connected by a narrow hyphen. It is a 3+12-story brick structure, with a mansard roof. The roof has a broad eave supported by decorative brackets, and is pierced by dormers with deeply pedimented gables. Its main facade is five bays wide, with each outer pair projecting slightly. Windows on the ground floor, and the center entrance, are framed by bracketed gabled lintels. Second floor windows have flat bracketed lintels, and third floor windows have simpler entablatures. The central windows on the second and third floor are three-part windows in the Palladian style, with narrow side windows.

Mathew St. Clair Clark, clerk of the United States House of Representatives, purchased land for the house in 1834 and began the original brick building in 1836. Shortly afterwards, it was sold to Joseph Gales, publisher of the National Intelligencer and a past Mayor of Washington, D.C. Lord Alexander Ashburton took up residence in the house in 1842, which was rented for him by United States Secretary of State Daniel Webster. While he lived there, the two men negotiated the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in its parlor, which resolved most of the boundary disputes between the U.S. and the British Canadian provinces as far west as the Great Lakes. Ashburton was succeeded by novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton; both made changes to Clark's design. The house received its French Second Empire design in the 1850s, designed by Thomas U. Walter. It again underwent alteration in the 1870s.

St. John's acquired the building 1953, and adapted its interior for use as a parish hall. A $5.5 million renovation of the house was completed in 2018.

The Ashburton house was victim of arson early in the morning of June 1, 2020 as local riots occurred in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. The fire was contained to one room in the basement.

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