Dumbarton Oaks, Georgetown

The Story

In 1702, what is now Dumbarton Oaks was known as a piece of land called the Rock of Dumbarton, owned by a colonel. Acquired 100 years later by a new owner, a house was built, the surviving parts of which still stand and serve as the center of Dumbarton Oaks today. From then, the property passed through a series of owners, until it was purchased by art collectors in 1920, eventually expanding the property to a total of 54 acres. A big enough space for a decent garden, for sure!

A House History Tied to the Arts

In 1940, the owners gifted the pruned Dumbarton Oaks to their alma mater, Harvard University, with the instructions that the property be used to house history and research into the fine arts. Since then, the property has become home to additional libraries, a museum, art galleries, and a Main House.

Our favorite part of this property is the stunning foliage and plant life found in the gardens. Created by landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, designed the gardens to give visitors the “illusion of country life.” Something visitors and locals alike often miss in D.C.




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