Visit our Smokehouse

Modern “locavores” will appreciate the urban-agrarian mix of Peter family sourcing.

With 8½ (now 5½) acres of land that once supported hay crops and livestock, early generations of Peters fed their large household with a mix of home-grown provisions and foods secured from nearby merchants and outlying farms, including their own.

Because pork was not merely favored in the early 19th century but a staple, the Smokehouse stood at the center of a food chain supported by Oakland, the Peter family’s plantation in rural Seneca, Maryland, some 20 miles away. (Georgetown, until the late 1700s, was part of Maryland.)

Hogs raised at Oakland were delivered each fall to Tudor Place to be slowly cured over weeks by an enslaved servant.  As Martha Peter’s daughter Britannia recalled, “The hogs were cut up, salted and packed in barrels for six weeks, after which they were hung up with white oak splits in the meat house and smoked.”

The Smokehouse was integral in both processing the meat and, in the months that followed, storing it securely from animals, thieves, and vermin.

New research shows that the building likely stood here as early as 10 years before Martha and Thomas Peter purchased the property in 1805 from Francis Lowndes, formerly of Bladensburg, Maryland. This would make it one of the only surviving 18th-century outbuildings (or “dependencies”) in the District.

The researchers used dendrochronology, a method of dating wood by its inherent patterns of tree (or “growth”) rings. Samples of Smokehouse lumber were compared to databases of the region’s trees from various eras to arrive at a construction date of 1795. To corroborate the results, we know only that the property contained two dwellings and five other structures of unnamed type when Lowndes sold it to the Peters. We will continue to seek descriptions of what those buildings consisted of, to help us confirm the dendro results, so expect more news in the future about this exciting find.

Seasonal Themes and Installations


Something for every taste and season!

Schedule your visit around these special installations! Tudor Place tours offer immediacy and authenticity. Now, there’s more! Don’t miss these seasonal displays, included at no extra charge in every tour, of rare Collections objects, each with a story of its own. And any time we’re open, come to the Visitor Center at no charge to see a display of photographs of Tudor Place in the snow, 1910-1913, taken and printed in silver-nitrate format by the estate’s last owner while he was a teenager.


FDR White House Invitation

A Visit With the Presidents


Requesting the pleasure of your company…  From documents like the Franklin Roosevelt White House invitation at left, to porcelain that graced the very first Presidential table, Tudor Place is filled with ties to the highest office in the land. Rare artifacts and little known stories are part of this two-month tour component. Admission half-price throughout February!


Floral plate, 19th century
Gardens In & Out


Through six generations, the Peters of Tudor Place turned their focus beyond the 1816 mansion to their multi-acred landscape. This fresh and fascinating tour installation reveals how the family drew inspiration for their indoor lives from the lush “rooms,” heritage trees, and garden beds they cultivated outdoors. Drawing from the museum’s voluminous Collection and Archive, the tour highlights botanical images and ideas found in books, cards, magazines, textiles, and china.


smokehouse door


Eating Local — Feeding the Urban Estate


Harvest and the Smokehouse are the focus for fall across the 1816 Landmark site, from the newly restored ca. 1795 smokehouse to the historic kitchen and 5½-acre gardens that once helped sustain owners and workers on this iconic urban estate. Agricultural implements will be on view, along with the kitchen preparations and table setting for a fine 1830s family dinner featuring the best of the smokehouse’s yield, ham and sausages. Also view related collections items including ceramics, housewares, diaries, receipts, and recipes, all chronicling domestic life in the city since the days when hay grew on the South Lawn. Learn about early “locavorism” on all regular tours (offered hourly), at special events, and when you visit the garden and newly opened Smokehouse. What better way to understand how land, labor, and urban larders have evolved since our city’s earliest days?


Dining table holiday centerpiece
Red, Green & Gold: the New and the Old
   Tudor Place Sparkles for Christmas


Experience the best of tradition and 21st-century flair over the holidays in the National Historic Landmark mansion. This seasonal installation in their onetime home imagines how the Peters would have decorated for a modern Christmas, blending heirloom spaces and collections with modern style in winter greenery, ribbons and bows, and the sparkle of lights and color.

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