In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson rode through Washington DC scouting for a location to house the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Ever since that day the Marine Barracks DC has stood in a prime downtown location and was key in protecting the city during the War of 1812. Though not as well known to those outside of the military as Quantico Marine Base located 30 miles south of DC, the Marines stationed at the barracks are an integral part of the security and ceremonies that happen in the Nations Capital every day.
If you have ever watched the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery, seen the silent precision rifle team or listened to the Marine Corp Band playing Hail to the Chief then you have seen some of the Marines stationed at the Barracks. Every Friday evening at sunset during the summer in DC the Marines from the Barracks put on a parade with all of the pomp and circumstance that you would expect and more. Thousands of people sit on the lawn in absolute silence watching and listening and it would be hard to find a dry eye in the crowd by the end of the evening.
The Home of the Commandant’s located on base has been home to all but two of the Marine Corp Commandants since it was built in 1806. The house was not destroyed by the British when they attached DC in 1814 and it is thought to be the longest continuously occupied building in DC. The home has grown from a small four room home to a 15,000 square foot Federalist style home with over thirty rooms.
The Marine Barracks DC is listed as a National Historic Landmark and though it is not open to the public tours area available at 10 am on Wednesdays or you can make private arrangements through the Public Affairs Office at (202) 433-4173. If you are making a trip to DC in the near future make sure you put this little know part of Marine Corps history on your itinerary.
If you are a Marine with PCS orders to the Marine Corps Barracks, Military District of Washington, Pentagon or Quantico give me a call. I’ve lived through the best and worst military moves and know how to help your family learn about the area and find a neighborhood that you will want to call home while stationed in the area.