748 Jackson Place NW

(202) 218-4333

Status: Former Residence, Heritage Property and Museum


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This house is one of the oldest surviving homes in the city. It was named after its first owner Stephen Decatur who came to a tragic end.

In 1820 Commodore James Barron challenged Mr Decatur to a duel over a matter of conduct in the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia in which the British frigate Chesapeake boarded the American ship Leopard that the Commodore was commanding. The Leopard was taken by surprise and had to be surrendered after being boarded by the British.

The Commodore was courtmartialed and stripped of his command. This incident nearly spiraled into another war between Britain and the United States.

Mr Decatur was mortally wounded in the stomach during the duel. He died 2 days later from his wounds in his house.

Today, the house is a heritage property and can be rented out for weddings and other special events.


Paranormal Activity

About a year after his death the apparition of Mr Decatur was seen standing in the second floor of his house looking out of a window at H Street NW.

His apparition was sighted so frequently and by so many people that the window was bricked up - which is its condition to this day.

His ghost is also seen leaving the back door of the house carrying a box with dueling pistols in it.

The phantom sound of his widow still crying is also often reported in the house.