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Fodor's Washington, D.C. 2014
Woodrow Wilson House
Woodrow Wilson House Review
President Wilson and his second wife, Edith Bolling Wilson, retired in 1921 to this Georgian Revival house designed by Washington architect Waddy B. Wood. (Wood also designed the Department of the Interior and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.)
President Wilson suffered a stroke toward the end of his second term, in 1919, and upon leaving office, lived out the last few years of his life on this quiet street. Edith made sure he was comfortable; she had a bed constructed that had the same dimensions as the large Lincoln bed Wilson had slept in while in the White House. She also had the house's trunk lift (a sort of dumbwaiter for trunks) converted to an Otis elevator so the partially paralyzed president could move from floor to floor. When the streetcars stopped running in 1962, the elevator stopped working; it had received its electricity directly from the streetcar line. It has since been restored and is available for visitors with accessibility needs.
Wilson died in 1924–Edith survived him by 37 years–and bequeathed the house and its contents to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. On view inside are such items as Wilson's clothing, collection of canes, Gobelins tapestry, a baseball signed by King George V, and the shell casing from the first shot fired by U.S. forces in World War I. The house also contains memorabilia related to the history of the short-lived but influential League of Nations, including the colorful flag Wilson hoped would be adopted by that organization.
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