One of the best ways to get to know a person is to see where they grew up, or where they lived most of their lives. You can tell so much about someone simply based on their lifestyle, the things they choose to surround themselves with, and the style of their home. It's perhaps for this very reason that we find ourselves so enamored with historical locations belonging to major events or figures throughout time; we are fascinated by what they've left behind.
Throughout the U.S, many historic homes and landmarks are open to the public. It's a dream come true, for some, to stroll through historic lawns and peruse the books on the shelve that belonged to a former president, if only to feel a closeness to a part of history they were not privy to yet. In that same way, these historic houses have become ingrained in the history of America, for better and for worse, and are all deserving of a visit.
The Oaks In Tuskegee, Alabama
Those familiar with famed author and educator Booker T. Washington will know The Oaks, which was built in 1900. It was here that the educator served as the first president for the Tuskegee Institute, and it was designated a historic site in 1974 by congress. The site of the Queen Anne Revival-style house also includes the George Washington Carver Museum and the university grounds. One step inside the Oaks will make clear just how beautifully crafted its architecture is, as it was constructed by students and local craftsmen.
Langston Hughes House In New York
The last place of residence for Langston Hughes, an incredibly gifted poet, novelist, and playwrite, was on Esat 127th Street in New York. This brownstone was built in the Italianate style and was completed in 1869. The home is known for representing an iconic time in Hughes' life, as it was also the place where he penned Montage of a Dream Deferred and Wonder as I Wander.
Monticello In Charlottesville, Virginia
Monticello was first constructed in 1769 and its owner, Thomas Jefferson, drew inspiration from Andrea Palladio's work, according to Architectural Digest. The plantation home is representative of a blending of architectural styles, including Renaissance and ancient design. Jefferson called the house his home until 1826, and those who visit now will find it to be a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon visiting Monticello, visitors will also have access to the museum, which has exhibits about the Jefferson as well as the enslaved peoples who worked on the plantation.
The Childhood Home Of Martin Luther King Jr. In Atlanta, Georgia
Martin Luther King Jr. lived in his Atlanta, Georgia home until the age of 12. The house was purchased by his father, Reverend Adam Daniel Williams, after its construction in 1895. His daughter would soon live there with Michael King, her husband, and the two would have a son: the legendary civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., who was born as Michael Jr. His childhood home was turned into a museum after his assassination in 1968, and it was given national historic park status in 2018, and it's now owned by the National Park Foundation.
George Washington's Mount Vernon Home In Mount Vernon, Virginia
Many know that Mount Vernon was the home of George and Martha Washington but not many know that it was actually the first president's father who built the home. Eventually, Washington would expand the house in 1754, taking it from what was once a humble 1.5-story home to a mansion boasting 21 rooms. The house has continuously been restored to maintain its original features, and also includes a museum which details the life of the first American president as well as the legacy of his presidency.
The African Meeting House In Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is rich with American history and the African Meeting House carries with it tremendous significance. It was once known as the First Independent Baptist Church, as well as the African Baptist Church of Boston, built in 1806. Many pivotal historic moments took place in this church as it was the site of many abolitionist speeches, including those of Sarah Grimké, Frederick Douglass, and William Lloyd Garrison, responsible for founding the New England Anti-Slavery Society in the same place in 1932. Today, it's the final stop on the Black Heritage Trail and is owned by the Museum of African American History.
The Mount In Lennox, Massachusetts
What makes The Mount such an architectural masterpiece is the use of several different architectural styles, including French, English, and Italian. The house itself was influenced by England's Belton House, according to Architectural Digest, and it was home to famed author Edith Wharton and her husband, Teddy. They sold the home in 1911 but it was designated a National Historic Landmark 60 years later.