Almost every reference to the history of Lafayette Park includes the information that it once included a graveyard, probably of slaves. In the 18th century the land that became that on which the White House and Lafayette Park now sit as well as many additional acres of land, was owned by two families, who would have been slave owners. Their slaves would have been buried on the land. There is a brief discussion of these owners on page 3 of this booklet. lafayette_park.pdf (nps.gov)
Dear Mr. Hosmer,
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We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Printed Ordinances and Resolutions, 1791 - 1870; Lists Regarding Washington City Squares and Lots and Expenditures for Select Public Buildings; Deedbooks, 1792 - 1869; and Lists Regarding Washington City Squares and Lots and Expenditures for Select Public Buildings in the Records of the Government of the District of Columbia (Record Group 351) that may indicate who owned it originally and what the land was used for. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at email@example.com.
We also located the series General Records in Record Group 351 consists of an index of squares recorded on division by the commissioners and original proprietors of the City of Washington. Plus, we located the National Capital Parks Numbered Drawings, 1797 - 1987 in the Records of the National Park Service (Record Group 79) that includes those around the White House. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Cartographic (RDSC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next, we located the General Correspondence of the Assistant Director for Design and Construction, 1963 - 1969 in Record Group 79 that includes 6 file units pertaining to the redevelopment of Lafayette Square/Lafayette Park in the 1960s. For more information about these non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at College Park (RDT2) at email@example.com.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1, RDSC, and RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
We suggest that you contact Bureau historian, John H. Sprinkle, Jr., who focuses on the history of the National Park Service and its diverse programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-354-2228 for additional information and/or resources.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!