James Madison Papers

Presidential Proclamation, 1 January 1816

1 January 1816

By the president of the united states

Whereas, by the first article of the terms and conditions declared by the President of the United States, on the 17th day of October, 1791, for regulating the materials and the manner of buildings and improvements on the lots in the City of Washington, it is provided, "That the outer and party walls of all the houses in the said city shall be built of brick or stone;" and by the third article of the same terms and conditions, it is declared, "That the wall of no house shall be higher than forty feet to the roof, in any part of the city, nor shall any be lower than thirty five feet on any of the avenues." And whereas the above recited articles have been found, by experience, to impede the settlement in the city of mechanics and others, whose circumstances do not admit of erecting houses of the description authorised by the said regulations, for which cause the operation of the said articles has been suspended by several acts of the President of the United States, from the 5th day of June, 1796, to the present day, and beneficial effects arising from such suspensions being experienced, it is deemed proper to revive and continue the same, with the exception hereinafter mentioned: Wherefore, I, James Madison, President of the United States, do hereby declare and make known, that the said first and third articles, as above recited, shall be, and the same are hereby suspended, till the first day of January, 1817, and that all houses which shall be erected in the said City of Washington, previous to the said first day of January, 1817, conformably in other respects to the regulations aforesaid, shall be considered as lawfully built, except that no wooden house, covering more than three hundred and twenty square feet, or higher than twelve feet from the sill to the eve, shall be erected, nor shall any such house be placed within twenty-four feet of a brick or stone house.

Given under my hand, the first day of January, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixteen.

James Madison

Printed Source--National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.).

Index Entries