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F Street House
To be a part of the vibrant life of the university, Steven Knapp chose to be the first president to have a permanent residence on the Foggy Bottom Campus. The classic Georgian brick mansion at 1925 F Street is the residence of the 16th president and his wife, Diane Robinson Knapp.
When they moved to the Foggy Bottom Campus in 2008, President and Ms. Knapp committed to restoring the F Street House as a gathering place for spirited dialogue on issues of social, cultural and intellectual importance. Since then, the Knapps have hosted many university and community events, including student dinners, commencement luncheons, faculty gatherings, salons, and cultural celebrations featuring authors, artists, diplomats, scholars, and student athletes.
Reflecting Dr. Knapp’s longtime dedication to sustainable living and his commitment to the George Washington University becoming a model of urban sustainability, renovations made to the F Street House incorporated “green” features while still preserving the historic integrity and heritage of a storied Washington landmark. Many of the chandeliers, furnishings, art pieces, and fireplace fixtures are original to the house, and provide a historic and dynamic backdrop for events engaging the university community.
Since the arrival of President and Ms. Knapp in 2008, F Street House events have included:
- Congressional Black Caucus Pre-Inauguration Reception
- Joint Chiefs of Staff Inauguration Day Luncheon
- Author Thomas Friedman Reception
- Author Rosemarie Garland-Thomson Reception
- Vice President Albert Gore Book Reception
- Dinner to Honor Artist Clarice Smith
- Unveiling of Null Space and Dedication Dinner for Artist John Safer
- Dinner to Honor Admiral Thad Allen as Recipient of the Colin Powell Service Award
- Author E.L. Doctorow Dinner
- Harvard President Drew Faust Reception
Each year, President and Ms. Knapp host the Salon Series. In the spirit of the off-the-record conversation that was a hallmark of the F Street Club, these small invitation-only dinners and intimate discussions address the topics and challenges facing our nation and the world, and are moderated by thought-leaders including faculty and members of the student leadership. Salon topics have included:
- The New Administration moderated by J.B. and M.C. Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs Steven V. Roberts, and journalist and author Cokie Roberts
- The National Debate on Healthcare Policy: Challenges and Priorities moderated by Sara Rosenbaum, chair of the Department of Health Policy, Milken Institute School of Public Health
- America in the World: Problems and Priorities moderated by Michael Brown, dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, and Ambassador Karl F. “Rick” Inderfurth, professor of the Practice of International Affairs at the Elliott School
- Food Policy moderated by renowned chef José Andrés and Ms. Knapp
- Earth Day 40 Years Later: Where Are We As a Planet? moderated by Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, professor of media and public affairs and international affairs, and founder of PlanetForward.org
- First Thursday in October: Supreme Court moderated by NPR’s legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg
- Mid-Term Elections and the 112th Congress moderated by John F. Harris, editor-in-chief of POLITICO
- American Education in a Changing World moderated by Michael Feuer, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Built as a private residence for a U.S. Navy captain in 1849, the F Street House was sold to a Washington businessman in 1868 and later leased to a society hostess who transformed the parlor level into a members-only dinner and social club. The F Street Club identity established during the Depression and at the height of Prohibition continued into the latter half of the 20th century.
Assured of privacy in the old mansion, diplomats took up matters of international import, from the founding of NATO to ownership of the Panama Canal. Famous journalists from Clare Boothe Luce to The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham favored the club. Eleanor Roosevelt once called it “a charming house, which lends itself well to meetings and parties.”
The house was purchased by the George Washington University in 1974, and added Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to its roster of famed visitors. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 and rededicated as the GW Alumni House in 1999. In 2007, the Alumni House relocated to 1918 F Street, NW, and renovations began to transform the F Street House into both a private residence and centerpiece for the life of the university community.