Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site


On an old brick house on Capitol Hill hangs a faded yellow and purple banner that proclaims: "We demand an amendment to the United States Constitution enfra­nchising women." With this banner, women marched for equal rights under the leadership of a young woman named Alice Paul. The Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site is a monument to Paul, who founded the National Woman's Party in 1913.

Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site
©National Park Service
The Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site is a shrine to the women's
movement.

To attract attention to themselves during their fight, Alice Paul and other suffragettes chained themselves to the White House fence and staged hunger strikes. Paul's determination led to ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, assuring women the right to vote. In 1923, Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment to end legal and economic discrimination against women. More than 70 years later, it has yet to be adopted.

Robert Sewall built the house in 1799 and later rented it to Albert Gallatin, secretary of the treasury from 1801 to 1813 for Presidents Madison and Jefferson. Gallatin probably drafted the Louisiana Purchase here.

In 1929, the National Woman's Party bought the house and named it the Alva Belmont House in honor of a party benefactress. The house contains memorabilia of the suffrage movement and a collection of portraits and marble busts of female leaders, including a life-size statue of Joan of Arc.

Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site Information
Address: 144 Constitution Ave., NE, Washington, D.C.
Telephone: 202/546-3989
Hours of Operation:

  • Tuesday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, noon - 4 p.m.
  • Closed Sunday & Monday

Admission: Free

Learn more about these other national historic sites:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site Clara Barton National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Adams National Historic Site
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site Fort Raleigh National Historic Site Hampton National Historic Site Lincoln Home National Historic Site Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site Edison National Historic Site Fort Scott National Historic Site Harry S. Truman National Historic Site Longfellow National Historic Site Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Eisenhower National Historic Site Fort Smith National Historic Site Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Boston African -American National Historic Site Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site Manzanar National Historic Site

Saint-
Gaudens National Historic Site

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site Martin Van Buren National Historic Site Salem Maritime National Historic Site Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ford's Theatre National Historic Site Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site Mary McLeod Bethune House National Historic Site Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site Weir Farm National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site Fort Bowie National Historic Site Friendship Hill National Historic Site James A. Garfield National Historic Site Mc Loughlin House National Historic Site Sewall -Belmont House National Historic Site Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic Site Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Ninety Six National Historic Site Springfield Armory National Historic Site William Howard Taft National Historic Site
Christian
-sted National Historic Site
Fort Laramie National Historic Site Golden Spike National Historic Site John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site

To learn more about national national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit:

­

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.