Armed Forces Retirement Home

Between North Capital Street, Rock Creek Church Road, and Irving Street

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In 1851 Senator Jefferson Davis advocated legislation that created the Soldiers’ Home. The legislation also provided other funds to support the Home that were generated through fines levied by courts-martial and a voluntary 25 cent monthly pay deduction from enlisted personnel. After considering many parcels of land, the Home’s Board of Directors decided to buy the 198 acre farm of George W. Riggs, founder of Riggs National Bank. The purchase was made for $58,111.75. The Riggs farmhouse was located along Rock Creek Church Road near where Upshur Street intersects today. Following completion of the buildings in 1857, General Winfield Scott invited the President and Secretary of War to make the “Asylum” their summer home. President Buchanan accepted and summered at Anderson Cottage, the former Riggs farmhouse, during his term in office. President Lincoln’s family spent long periods from June to November at Anderson Cottage. Lincoln wrote the second draft of the Emancipation Proclamation while at the cottage, and in July 1864 rode a mile from the cottage to Fort Stevens to witness the attack by Confederate troops on Washington.

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