Speakers of the House — Where They Lived

Ryan lives a short sprint from the Capitol in his office in the Longworth House Office Building. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Ryan lives a short sprint from the Capitol in his office in the Longworth House Office Building. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted March 7, 2016 at 5:00am

Speakers of the House have often lived in places to see and be seen.  

The area that is now around Metro Center, the White House and downtown was the place to live as a speaker in the 1860s, the time period for which we first have reliable data to map where speakers lay their heads. Schuyler Colfax, R-Ind., James Gillespie Blaine, R-Maine, and Michael Crawford Kerr, D-Ind., all lived within walking distance of the White House, making meetings with the president easy, as well as places to find an after-work beverage. Colfax lived on Lafayette Square, Blaine was on 15th Street NW near where the McPherson Square Metro stop is now and Kerr was based at the Willard.  

Samuel J. Randall, D-Pa., lived closer to work on Capitol Hill on C Street. He was speaker from 1875-1881.  

After that, speakers seemed to gather in shared housing. Joseph Warren Keifer, R-Ohio, lived at Ebbitt House; John Carlisle, D-Ky., lived in Riggs House; Thomas Reed, R-Maine, lived at The Shoreham; Charles Crisp, D-Ga., settled at the Metropolitan and David Henderson, R-Iowa., lived at the Normandie.  

Starting the next century off, Joseph Cannon, R-Ill., returned to single-family space by McPherson Square. His successors, however, migrated north and west. James Clark, D-Mo., Frederick H. Gillett, R-Mass., and Nicholas Longworth, R-Ohio, all lived in the Dupont Circle area.  

With a few exceptions (Henry Thomas Rainey, D-Ill., lived on the U street corridor before Ben’s Chili Bowl), most speakers from the 1930s through the 1960s lived in hotels. John Garner, D-Texas, and John McCormack, D-Mass., both even lived in the same place decades apart, the Hotel Washington.  

Like a lot of the country, there was some suburban migration in the latter part of the 20th Century. While Carl Albert, D-Okla., lived in the tony Cathedral Commons area of Washington, his successor, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr., D-Mass., moved to Bethesda, Md., and Jim Wright, D-Texas, lived in McLean, Va. Wright also famously forbade members to crash in their offices.  

Tom Foley, D-Wash., headed back to the Capitol Hill area, renovating a house near Eastern Market in the late 1980s. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., stuck close by, living in Southwest D.C., during his tenure.  

Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., headed to chic digs on the Georgetown waterfront, where she has stayed.  

John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, headed back to Capitol Hill. His successor, Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., became the first speaker to actually live in the Capitol  by sleeping in his office, a practice he began as a rank-and-file member.  

1. Schuyler Colfax:  7 16 1/2 St. on Lafayette Square  

2. James Blaine: 821 15th St. NW  

3. Michael Kerr: The Willard  

4. Samuel Randall: 120 C St. SE  

5. Joseph Keifer: Ebbitt House  

6. John Carlisle: Riggs House  

7. Thomas Reed: The Shoreham  

8. Charles Frederick: The Metropolitan  

9. David Henderson: The Normandie  

10. Joseph Cannon: 1014 Vermont Ave. NW  

11. James “Champ” Clark: 2401 Massachusetts Ave. NW  

12. Frederick Gillett: 1525 18th St. NW  

13. Nicholas Longworth: 2009 Massachusetts Ave. NW  

14. John Nance Garner: Hotel Washington  

15. Henry Rainey: 2001 16th St. NW  

16. William Bankhead: The Mayflower  

17. Samuel Rayburn: The Anchorage  

18. Joseph Martin Jr. : The Hay Adams  

19. John McCormack: Hotel Washington  

20. Thomas Foley: 1253 C St. SE  

21. Newt Gingrich: 110 Maryland Ave. NE  

22. Dennis Hastert: 733 3rd St. SW  

23. Nancy Pelosi: Georgetown Waterfront  

24. John A. Boehner: Capitol Hill  

25. Paul D. Ryan: 1233 Longworth House Office Building