The U.S. Consul General’s residence in Jerusalem is one of the United States’ oldest diplomatic residences. It was built in 1868 by the German Lutheran missionary Ferdinand Vester, eleven years after the United States first established a permanent diplomatic presence in the city. 1868 was the year Ulysses S. Grant was elected President of the United States, when Thomas Edison patented his first invention, and a year after Mark Twain visited Jerusalem, a journey he wryly memorialized in Innocents Abroad – one of the most famous travel books of all time. The stone house at 18 Agron Road – the home in which we now live – was one of the first houses constructed outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls, built just a few years after Moses Montefiore began building Mishkenot Sha’ananim and his famous windmill.
The house has served as both the office and residence of the Consul General since the United States bought the property in 1912. In the intervening century, this lovely house and the many U.S. diplomats who have lived here over the years have borne witness to historic events in a city that is not only home to hundreds of thousands of Jerusalemites – Christians, Jews, and Muslims – but is sacred to billions of people throughout the world.