The Sewall-Belmont House was built on a tract of land originally granted to the second Lord Baltimore by King Charles of England. The property was divided several times, and it was Daniel Carroll who ultimately ceded much of the land to the United States as a site for the new capital. After Washington was laid out, Caroll bought a small parcel of land and later in 1799 sold the property to Robert Sewall. According to his tax records, Sewall built the main house in 1800. He attached it to a small one-room farmhouse believed by some experts to date from 1750. Tradition has it that British troops set fire to the house during the War of 1812. It is believed that gunshots from or behind the Sewall residence provoked the attack. Since that incident the house has undergone several architectural changes and restorations. The house remained in the possession of Sewall descendants until 1922, when it was purchased by Senator Porter H. Dale of Vermont. Seven years later, in 1929, Dale sold it to the National Woman’s Party (NWP). It has been the headquarters for the NWP ever since. Today, the house balances its roles as a museum and a headquarters. Many sculptures and portraits of women involved in the suffrage and equal rights movements can be seen at the house. The museum also contains Susan B. Anthony’s desk and a banner used during the first U.S. protests demanding women’s enfranchisement.
The Sewall-Belmont House is located at 144 Constitution Ave., NE. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, and Saturday from noon to 4:00 pm. Daily tours are given on the hour, with the last tour beginning the hour prior to closing. Metro stop: Capital South, Union Station.