A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Leaks Plague President’s House Exhibit

Thursday, May 22, 2014


PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA—Leaks at the President’s House commemorative site on Independence Mall threaten the archaeological remains of the home occupied by George Washington and John Adams during their presidencies, from 1790 to 1800. Nine of Washington’s enslaved servants also lived at the site. Despite repairs, glass panels, paving tiles, and a hatch into the site continue to leak. Underground water may be causing problems as well. Independent consultants for the city of Philadelphia, which has managed the building of the memorial, found that an underground drainage system called for in the original design had never been installed. A surface drain was found to be faulty and a gap along a wall may also be letting in water. “We’ve talked internally about a drastic step of filling it with sand and covering it over. It’s an option. It’s not a pleasant option. But in the name of preservation, it’s something we have to consider,” Cynthia MacLeod, superintendent of Independence National Historical Park, told The Philadelphia Inquirer