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.
©National Park Service
The Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site is a shrine to the women's
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.
Hours of Operation:
- Tuesday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Saturday, noon - 4 p.m.
- Closed Sunday & Monday
Learn more about these other national historic sites:
To learn more about national national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit:
- National Monuments: Learn more about America's national monuments.
- National Memorials: Discover national memorials in the U.S.
- National Historic Sites: Read about American national historic sites.
- Washington, D.C. City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit Washington, D.C.
- District of Columbia State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Washington, D.C., as well as other recreational activities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.