1st Presidential Mansion

Samuel Osgood House


Also known as the Walter Franklin House, it was an eighteenth-century mansion at the northeast corner of what was Pearl and Cherry (today Dover) streets in what is now Civic Center, Manhattan, New York City.

Constructed, 1770

The owner, Samuel Osgood, was a Massachusetts politician and lawyer, who settled in New York City. He married Maria Bowne Franklin, widow of Walter Franklin, the merchant who had built the house in 1770.The Samuel Osgood Papers, at the New York Historical Society, list purchases made to prepare the mansion for Washington occupancy. 'I went the morning before the General's arrival to look at it. The best of furniture in every room, and the greatest quantity of plate and china I ever saw; the whole of the first and second stories is papered and the floors covered with the richest kinds of Turkey and Wilton carpets. There is scarcely anything talked about now but General Washington and the Palace.'

Occupied, Apr 23, 1789

Served as the first U.S. Presidential Mansion. It housed George Washington, his family, and household staff, from April 23, 1789, to February 23, 1790, during New York City's two-year term as the national capital. Congress rented it for Washington's use, and the President-Elect moved in a week before his April 30, 1789, inauguration as first President of the United States. In addition to living quarters, the Osgood House contained the President's private office (the equivalent of the Oval Office) and the public business office (the equivalent of the West Wing), making it the first seat of the executive branch of the federal government.The house was rented for one year at an annual rent of $845, but the president vacated it after ten months when a larger residence became available.Steward Samuel Fraunces, former owner of nearby Fraunces Tavern, managed a household staff of about 20: wage workers, indentured servants, and enslaved servants. Slavery was legal in New York, and Washington brought seven enslaved Africans from Mount Vernon to work in his presidential household.Soon after his inauguration, Washington became seriously ill with a tumor on his thigh (possibly caused by anthrax poisoning). Cherry Street was cordoned off to prevent his being disturbed.The Samuel Osgood Papers, at the New York Historical Society, list purchases made to prepare the mansion for Washington occupancy.

Moved, Feb 23, 1790
Destroyed, 1856

The Osgood House was demolished in 1856. In 1899, the Daughters of the American Revolution marked its location with a bronze plaque, where Pearl Street crosses under the Brooklyn Bridge approach.

Related People

Related Sites