The Commandant's House is one of the oldest structures in the Charlestown Navy Yard, with panoramic views of Boston Harbor. Built for the first Commandant of the Navy Yard and his family, the house was completed in 1805 and served as a private home and entertainment venue for some of the highest ranking naval officers of the time. Counted among its distinguished guests are two U.S. presidents, James Monroe and Andrew Johnson, domestic and foreign naval officers and numerous other dignitaries from around the world.
The historic mansion's design reflects the classical influence of the early 19th-century's Federal period. The house was modified over the years to adapt to harsh New England winters. In 1825, windows on the weather-bearing side were reduced in number and central steam heat was installed in 1835. Nearly 100 years later, the brick exterior, which had been painted white for protection against water damage, was restored to its natural state. Other renovations have included adding a sun porch on the harbor side, built as part of a Works Progress Administration Project completed during the Depression.
Since the Charlestown Navy Yard was decommissioned in 1974, the Commandant's House has been preserved by the National Park Service as part of Boston National Historical Park. Today the house is used in keeping with its historic role as a meeting space.