Completed in 1816 on land purchased with a legacy from George Washington, Tudor Place brings to life over 180 years of American cultural and social history. Enjoy these historical forays into early horse racing and Civil War Georgetown. For background on the estate's origins, click here.
With a notice published on April 10, 1769 that a purse of 25 pounds would be offered on May 30 to any mare or gelding that could run the best of three two mile heats, horseracing was officially born in Georgetown! In the early Federal City, racing fever spurred the construction of new race courses and gripped the imaginations, and purses, of luminaries including Henry Clay, the Tayloe family, prominent architect William Thornton, and Thomas Peter, the client for whom he designed Tudor Place. Grab your racing form and take your seat for this thrilling account by Tudor Place Archivist Wendy Kail.
As war overtook the nation's capital, tradition collided with need for Tudor Place inheritor Britannia Peter Kennon. See how this widow and single mother took in Union officers as boarders to save the home her parents built.
Origins of the Estate
Tudor Place was built by Martha Washington's granddaughter, Martha Custis Peter, and her husband, Thomas Peter, son of a successful Scottish tobacco merchant. In 1805, Thomas Peter purchased the land comprising a city lot in Georgetown Heights with an $8,000 legacy from Martha Custis Peter's step-grandfather, George Washington. The Peters asked Dr. William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol, to design the stately neoclassical house with its circular domed portico and expansive gardens. Completed in 1816, Tudor Place remained under the ownership of six succeeding generations of the Peter family until 1983.
The Peter family witnessed the birth and growth of the capital, playing active roles in government, business and society. The family entertained the Marquis de Lafayette, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and others who shaped America's history.
The story of those who worked at the estate and served the family as slaves and free servants present a fuller picture of life at Tudor Place. From the forced immigration of slaves to the free immigration of English and Irish in the late 19th century, Tudor Place presents a unique window into the lives of those who served and how their lives were shaped by major events.
Following the death of its last owner, Armistead Peter 3rd, the historic site opened to the public in 1988 under the stewardship of the Tudor Place Foundation. Tudor Place brings to life the cultural and social history of over 180 years of the Peter family.