Wednesday, February 20, 2008
St. John's Church, Lafayette Square
This entry is the first in a series I'm starting on D.C. Confidential called "The Churches of 16th Street." From the foot of 16th Street at H Street all the way to the north where 16th Street ends at Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland, this street has more churches, synagogues, temples, and centers of religion than any other avenue or street in our Nation's Capital. (From 16th and H to 16th and Colorado alone there are nearly 40 places of worship and that's only 1/2 of the length of 16th Street!)
St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square (1525 H Street NW) is located on 16th and H Streets across from Lafayette Park and the White House. Founded in 1815, St. John's is known as "The Church of the Presidents" because of its proximity and ease of access to the White House. Throughout its history, every president since James Madison has attended a service at St. John's. Pew 54 is the Presidential Pew and when the church has occasion to host a president, that is where he sits.
The bell in the St. John's belfry was cast by Paul Revere's son, Joseph, in Boston in 1822. It is one of only two Revere bells in the city and the only one in continuous use to this day. The church was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe and is a national historic landmark.
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 2/08