THING TO DO

Explore the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House

View of the front of the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House
View of the front of the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House.

Photo by NPS/Historic American Buildings Survey

Learn about the life and legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune and how she used the power of education, political activism, and civil service to achieve racial and gender equality throughout the United States and the world.

Mary McLeod Bethune achieved her greatest national and international recognition at the Washington, DC townhouse at 1318 Vermont Avenue NW.

This Second Empire row house in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. once belonged to educator, civil rights activist, and presidential adviser Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and served as the national headquarters for the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW).

She purchased the house in 1943. Mary McLeod Bethune rose from a regional leader in the Civil Rights Movement to one with national prominence as she led the NCNW and numerous other organizations. To understand Mary McLeod Bethune as only a champion of civil rights, though, would be to ignore her longstanding commitment to the rights of women and to education. Hers was a life of civic engagement spent working for the greater good.

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site (NHS) tells the story of her life in the house where she lived and worked from 1943 to 1949.
Details

Free and open to the public.


Public Transportation:

The closest Metrorail Stations are Shaw/Howard University and U Street/Cardozo/African American Civil War Memorial on the Green Line, and McPherson Square on the Orange and Blue lines.

Walk from Shaw/Howard University Station: Take the 8th and R Street exit and walk south on 8th Street NW towards Rhode Island Avenue NW. Turn Right on Rhode Island Avenue NW to Logan Circle. At the circle, turn left onto Vermont Avenue NW.

Walk from U Street Station: Take the 13th Street exit from the station and turn left to walk south on 13th Street NW until you reach Logan Circle. Cross or go around the circle and continue southwest on Vermont Avenue NW and 1318 is one half block ahead on the right.

Walk from McPherson Square Station: Take the 14th Street exit from the station, walk north on 14th Street NW until you reach Thomas Circle. Cross or go around the circle and walk northeast onto Vermont Avenue NW. Cross over N Street NW, and 1318 is one half block ahead on the left.

The Circulator bus line runs from Union Station with a stop at 14th and K Street NW. From the stop, walk north on 14th Street NW until you reach Thomas Circle. Cross or go around the circle and walk northeast onto Vermont Avenue NW. Cross over N Street NW, and 1318 is one half block ahead on the left.

By Metro bus, the closest are the 68 and 66 routes. Both can be boarded outside the 11th Street exit from the Metro Center station on the Metrorail Red Line. Each bus stops at N Street NW (the 68 on 13th Street, and the 66 on 11th Street). Walk west (left) down N Street NW to Vermont Avenue NW, turn right, and 1318 is one half block ahead on the left. You may also take the G2 from Howard University or from Georgetown to Logan Circle and P Street NW stop.

By Car or Bus:

From Baltimore and Points North:

Take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway south to US Route 50 west (which becomes New York Avenue). Take New York Avenue to Massachusetts Avenue and continue west. Turn right onto 13th Street. Go one block and turn left onto 'N' Street. Go another block and turn right onto Vermont Avenue. 1318 is one half block up the street on the left.

From Virginia and Points South:

Take 14th Street NW north to Thomas Circle. Make a right off Thomas Circle onto Vermont Avenue NW. Cross over N Street NW and 1318 is half a block ahead on the left.

Note: Street parking is limited and restricted. Please read the street signs carefully. The closest parking garage is beneath the Washington Plaza Hotel on the northeast quadrant of Thomas Circle at Vermont Avenue and M Street NW. Please be aware that street sweeping occurs on Vermont Avenue Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. March through October.

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site is free and open to the public. Drop-in visits are welcome from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The last guided tour leaves at 4:00 p.m.

Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to make reservations by calling (202) 673-2402.

Drop-in visits are welcome from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The last guided tour leaves at 4:00 p.m.

Accessibility Information

There is no handicap parking located on-site. Parking is limited to on-street parking.

Physical / Mobility

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site is not wheelchair accessible.

For visitors with limited mobility, a photo guided tour for the second floor of the home can be provided.

Service Animals

Service animals are allowed in national parks. For a definition of a service animal, please see the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) definition.

Last updated: February 21, 2017