Hilltop House—The Rammed Earth White House

The Hilltop House, a large rammed earth structure built at the address of 1300 Rhode Island Avenue, NE, in Washington, DC in 1773. Before its demolition in 1956, which made way for subsidized housing, it was the oldest extant house in the Washington DC area. The house served as the interim White House for President James Monroe after the British burned the official residence.

An attempt was apparently made to bring raze the building with a wrecking ball after World War I failed after the ball proved ineffective, prompting the owners let the house stand. It was then renovated and it served as an embassy for some time.

The photo is from A quantitative comparison of rammed earth and sun-cured adobe buildings by Richard Hudson Clough and published by The University of New Mexico Press as a Masters Thesis in 1950. Clough went on to become the Dean of Engineering at UNM and wrote the definitive texts on construction contracting.

[ Research Credit: Quentin Wilson ]

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