Woodley Mansion

The Woodley Mansion north entrance
The north entrance to the Woodley Mansion.

On April 25, 1945, Henry Stimson, United States Secretary of War, briefed Harry Truman on S-1 (the Manhattan Project), following the death of President Roosevelt on April 12. Along with General Leslie “Dick” Groves, Stimson traced the history of the Manhattan Project, summarized its status, and detailed the timeline for testing and combat delivery. Truman was unaware of the project, as it was top secret, and Stimson spearheaded the project through Congress through misdirection.

Henry Stimson purchased the Woodley Mansion in 1929, after being appointed U.S. Secretary of State by President Herbert Hoover. The mansion was built in 1801 in the Federal style on a hilltop. Stimson owned the home from 1929-1950, but only lived there until 1946 during his appointment as Secretary of War from 1940-1945.

Looking north over the soccer fields at the rear of the mansion.

In Harper’s Magazine, 1947, Stimson wrote “The decision to use the atomic bomb” partly as a response to John Hersey’s article, “Hiroshima,” published in The New Yorker. Stimson’s article was the first official account of the reasonings behind the bombings.

Today, the Woodley Mansion is home to the Maret School since 1950. Around 650 students attend the top-tier private school. The house has been used for a learning center, a library, business offices, and admissions office. The current soccer pitch and playfield was once a croquet lawn and gardens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *