President John Tyler appointed the first U.S. consul to Jerusalem in 1844. A permanent consular presence was established in 1857, in a building just inside the Jaffa Gate in the Old City. That building today houses the Swedish Christian Study Center.
The Mission moved to a second site on Prophets’ Street, a few blocks outside the Old City, in the late nineteenth century, before relocating in 1912 to its present location on 18 Agron Road. The building on 18 Agron Road was built in 1868 by the German Lutheran missionary Ferdinand Vester, whose family and associates built many of the Arab-style homes in Jerusalem (particularly in the nearby German Colony), as well as what is now the American Colony Hotel. The building was one of the first houses constructed outside the Old City walls, built at the same time that Moses Montefiore founded the housing area of Yemin Moshe outside the Old City. The original building had only two stories; a third story was added in the mid-twentieth century. It now houses both the Consul General’s residence and office space for Consulate General employees.
A building on Nablus Road has been under U.S. Government lease since 1952. Until September 2010, it housed the Consulate General’s consular section, which provides American citizen and visa services.
In 2006, the U.S. Consulate General expanded its presence on Agron Road with a lease of an adjacent building for its administrative and public affairs offices. The building, a monastery of the Congregation of the Mission, also known as the Lazarists, was built in the 1860s and still houses a small group of Lazarist clergy. The walls of both buildings on Agron Road are built of the distinctive Red Slayeb stone typical of many of Jerusalem’s historic buildings. Roman arch windows and doorways add to their architectural beauty.
The mission was designated a Consulate General in 1928. It now represents the United States in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip as an independent mission, with the Consul General serving as chief of mission. The Consulate General also provides services to American citizens in this district. Throughout its history, staff of the Consulate General has included Christians, Muslims, and Jews, demonstrating that people of different faiths and nationalities can work together in peace in this region.