Famous Homes of U.S. Presidents
In honor of the 2008 presidential election, we’ve assembled a list of homes that United States presidents have called home. Looking for even more history-making homes? Check out our list of Famous Historic Homes.
Current and Former Presidents
Real estate has also been a thorn in democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s side, but for different reasons. In 2005, shortly after he was elected to the U.S. Senate, Obama purchased this home at 5046 S. Greenwood Ave., in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood for $1.65 million, $300,000 less than the asking price. At the same time, businessman and Obama campaign supporter Antoin “Tony” Rezko and his wife, Rita, purchased a vacant lot adjoining Obama’s property for full price, $625,000. In order for Obama to expand his yard space, six months later he purchased a portion of the lot from Rita Rezko for $104,500. The transaction raised eyebrows because it occurred at a time when Tony Rezko was under federal investigation for his involvement in attempting to extort money from companies seeking state pension business; he was later convicted. In a 2006 Chicago-Sun Times interview, Obama made this statement: “With respect to the purchase of my home, I am confident that everything was handled ethically and above board. But I regret that while I tried to pay close attention to the specific requirements of ethical conduct, I misgauged the appearance presented by my purchase of the additional land from Mr. Rezko.”
Before George W. Bush became the 43rd president of the U.S. and before he made Crawford, Texas famous, he had a modest beginning in Midland, Texas. It was here in Midland that George purchased this 2,406-square-foot home in 1977, married schoolteacher Laura Welch shortly after, and had twins Jenna and Barbara. They all lived here until 1985 when “W” moved to Washington, D.C. to work on his father’s presidential campaign.
Then-president Bill Clinton and wife Hillary Rodham Clinton purchased this Dutch Colonial home in New York’s wealthy Westchester County for $5.95 million in 1999, a year before Hillary became the U.S. Senator for the state of New York. Unlike other presidents, Bill Clinton didn’t own any homes during his presidency, until he bought this property, the first of two homes purchased near the end of his second term. Bill has been known to hang out in tiny downtown Chappaqua, chatting up his neighbors, and Hillary marches in the Memorial Day parade every year (except this year, since she was a little busy running for the White House).
Purchased in 2000, the Clintons paid $2.85 million for this stately house in Washington’s leafy Observatory Circle neighborhood. According to property records, the brick Georgian Colonial is 5,152 square feet and has 4 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. Incidentally, the Clintons live less than a half-mile from the vice presidential residence at 1 Observatory Circle. Think they have Cheney over for barbecues?
The first Bush to be elected to the White House, George Herbert Walker Bush, was born in 1924 at this Victorian home in Milton, Massachusetts. “Bush 41’ is one of four presidents who were born in Massachusetts, all in the Boston area and all within a span of about 12 miles. (The other three are Kennedy, John Adams, and his son, John Quincy Adams.) The Bush family lived at this home for only for about a year, before moving to Connecticut. While he’s thought of as a Texan, it wasn’t until after marrying Barbara Pierce that he and his young family moved to West Texas.
This Pacific Palisades home served as the residence of Ronald and Nancy Reagan from 1957 until 1981. In his autobiography, Reagan said the house, which was built in 1956, was outfitted by General Electric with “every imaginable electric gadget.” (Reagan was a spokesman for GE at the time; he was fired by GE in 1962 for giving speeches that were too politically controversial.) The Reagans kept the home during his governorship and unsuccessful first presidential bid, then sold it when they set out for the White House.
After two terms as the 40th President of the U.S., “The Gipper” retired to this 7,192-square-foot estate in the posh Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. He and Nancy bought the property in 1989 for $3 million. Ronald Reagan was at this home when he passed away at the age of 93 in 2004, after a 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Former president Gerald Ford grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan, where he was a star football player. After serving for the U.S. Navy in World War II, Ford returned to Grand Rapids and in 1948, ran for what would be his first of 13 terms serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. It was in this same year that he married Elizabeth “Betty” Bloomer Warren, and the newlyweds moved into this unassuming home, where they lived until 1950.
An avid skier, Ford and his family spent many winters at this home, his former ski retreat in Avon, Colorado, near Vail. To the locals, who were used to seeing him shushing down the slopes, he wasn't the president — he was simply “Jerry.” The ski-in/ski-out estate, which is within walking distance of the popular village of Beaver Creek, features 7 bedrooms and measures more than 9,500 square feet. The home was sold a few months after Ford’s death in December 2006.
If walls could talk, this home would surely have some interesting stories. During his first year in office in 1969, President Richard Nixon purchased this sprawling beachside mansion in San Clemente, California as a presidential getaway. Nicknamed “La Casa Pacifica” by Nixon himself, the Spanish-style estate also became known as Nixon's Western White House. La Casa Pacifica hosted many visiting dignitaries during Nixon’s tumultuous tenure, and it was here that Nixon retired to after his resignation. The Nixon family remained here until the late 1980s.
President John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy, or “JFK” as he would become known to all of us, was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. At the time, Jack’s parents, Joseph and Rose, and their four children lived in a simple house in the “streetcar suburb” just outside Boston. When Jack was 3, the growing family (Kennedy had 8 siblings in all) moved to this larger home on Abbottsford Road, which features 6 bedrooms, turreted windows, and a big front porch. Kennedy lived here until he was 10.
One of America’s most storied properties, the Kennedy Compound consists of 6 acres of waterfront property on Nantucket Sound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, a small village in the town of Barnstable. Jack’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, rented a summer cottage in Hyannis Port in 1926 and purchased the cottage 2 years later. The home, which Joseph enlarged and remodeled, became the summer getaway for the couple and their children, who enjoyed sailing on the sound. In 1956, after his marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier, Jack bought a smaller home nearby, and his brother Robert later purchased an adjacent home. Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy currently lives in the original home; Ethel, Sen. Robert Kennedy’s widow, resides in the property they purchased.
This famed estate in the Washington, D.C. suburb of McLean, Virginia has been in the Kennedy family since 1953, when the future president bought it in this same year that he married Jackie. The then-Senator went on to sell the property to his brother, Robert, and wife Ethel for $125,000 — the same price he purchased it for. Incidentally, the home also served as the headquarters of Union Army General George McClellan during the Civil War.
Before he became the 33rd president, Harry S Truman had a modest upbringing in Missouri, son of a farmer and livestock dealer. Born in Lamar, MO, Harry and his family later moved to Independence. They lived in this 3,077-square-foot house from 1896 to 1902, when Harry was 12 to 18 years old. It is believed the family lost the home in 1901, after Truman’s father squandered their savings speculating in commodities.
Following their wedding in 1919, Harry Truman moved into this Independence home, the residence of his new wife, Bess Wallace, and her family. Bess’s mother, Madge Gates Wallace, lived here with the couple until her death in 1952. During Truman's two terms as president, this home became known as the “Summer White House.” Harry and Bess returned here after he left office, and lived here for the rest of their lives (Truman passed away in 1972). It”s now a National Park Service site in the Harry S. Truman National Landmark District.
Woodrow Wilson’s Princeton Houses: 72 Library Place, 82 Library Place and 25 Cleveland Lane
Before he served two terms in the White House (1913-1921), Woodrow Wilson was a professor at his alma mater, Princeton University. He joined the faculty in 1890 and moved into a large Tudor residence at 72 Library Place (pictured). During his tenure, he also lived at 82 Library Place (a Tudor Revival house that Wilson built) and 25 Cleveland Lane. He went on to become university president and moved into the president’s residence, Prospect House.
Future president William Howard Taft married his longtime sweetheart, Helen “Nellie” Herron, in 1886 in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. They went on to buy their first home together, thanks to the generosity of Nellie’s father, who gave them the lot, and financing from Taft’s father. The price: $6,000. They named the 3-story brick home “The Quarry.’ Taft would later go on to become the 27th president.
The only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, Grover Cleveland is the 22nd and 24th president of the U.S. At the end of his second term in 1897, Cleveland retired to a Georgian-style mansion in Princeton, New Jersey he would call “Westland.” He lived there until his death in 1908, and his wife, Frances, continued to live in the house for many years. Today, the home is a private residence, and from the looks of the bird’s-eye view, it's every bit as grand as it was in Cleveland’s day.
Smack dab in the middle of mom and pop grocery stores, antique shops, and other small Lexington Avenue shops is a row house known as the Chester A. Arthur House, home to the 21st president of the U.S., Chester A. Arthur. Born in Vermont, “Elegant Arthur” was known for his fashionable dress and attire. He practiced law in New York City and after receiving praise for leadership during the Civil War, was tapped by President Ulysses S. Grant to the powerful position of Collector of the Port of New York (1871 to 1878), and thus began a life of politics. Arthur served as Vice President to James Garfield and spent most of his adult life in this row house, coming here after the attempted assassination of President Garfield. When Garfield died months later, Arthur took oath of office in this building.
The 12th president, military hero Zachary Taylor, called this Louisville, Kentucky plantation home during his boyhood years (1790-1808) and returned to the home often in adulthood. It was here that the marriage of the future president and Margaret Mackall Smith took place. Taylor’s father built the Georgia Colonial-style home and dubbed it “Springfield.” The home remained in Taylor’s family until his father’s death in 1829; it is now a private residence. A part of the original 700 acres of land surrounding the property eventually became Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, where the former president is buried.
Known as the Stride-Madison House, this brick townhouse in Philadelphia’s historic Society Hill area was the residence of our 4th president, James Madison, and his wife Dolley Payne Todd. Madison was one of America’s Founding Fathers and the principal author of the Constitution. Built in 1796, the Stride-Madison home is 2,268 square feet and features 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. It continues to be a private residence.
Okay, so this wasn’t President George Washington’s own residence, but it is believed that he hung up his wig at this 1739 homestead, named the “Fowler House.” The number of nights Washington slept here is up for debate, but if you believe the historic marker on the home, he often stayed here on his way from West Point to Connecticut. The Brewster, New York home is 5,800 square feet and has 5 bedrooms and 2 baths.