Lost Washington: the Key Mansion

key-mansionIts not often that I find a building lost to posterity as and outright crime, but this certainly would qualify by my reckoning.

The Key Mansion, built in 1802, was an historic property from an early date. Francis Scott Key — of Star Spangled Banner fame — lived in the house for twenty-two years. Key moved to Georgetown in 1805 when an uncle offered him a partnership in his law practice.

Efforts to save the residence were made as early as 1907, when it was opened as a museum. Unfortunately, the house was altered for commercial purposes in 1912, when the gable roof and adjoining single story office building were removed.

Even though Congress passed a bill in 1948 providing $65,000 to relocate the home, President Truman vetoed the bill, and the buildings fate was sealed. It was razed because plans for the Whitehurst Freeway called for the site to be used as a connecting ramp with Key Bridge.

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One Response to “Lost Washington: the Key Mansion”

  1. I have been living in DC/Virginia for about 4 years, and have just heard that Francis Scott Key’s home in Georgetown was torn down long ago, and I COMPLETELY agree with you. I am all for preservation of history, and to see or hear of the only physical links to our past being destroyed makes me more upset than anything else. We keep “updating” our brick homes without contemplating what these homes could mean for the country 100 years from now. I am sure DC has a historical society that keeps track of these things, but as citizens, I feel we need to step in sometimes. We are not an old country, and due to our need for moderism we destroy our historic sites. We will lose our history, and one day will become (if not already) envious of what other countries have been smart enough to keep.

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