The John Marshall House is the home of Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall, located in Richmond, Virginia. Marshall was appointed to the court in 1801 by President John Adams and served for the rest of his life, writing such influential decisions as Marbury v. Madison (1803) and McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). Built in 1790, the house was home to Marshall, his wife Mary Willis Ambler Marshall (known within the family as Polly), and their six children. Marshall lived at the house until his death in 1835.
John Marshall's account books show that he began to make payments for the purchase of the property from "Mr. B. Lewis" on October 7, 1786 and finished the payments on November 19, 1786. The Marshalls called a small wooden house their home while the building on The Corner of Marshall and Ninth Streets was being built. The actual date the Marshalls moved into their house is sometimes stated as 1788 and other times stated as January of 1791. When John Marshall built his house, Richmond's population was rapidly growing and many new homes were being built. The John Marshall House was one of the first homes to be built in the beginnings of a neighborhood which would later be known as the Court End of Richmond.
The exterior appearance of the house has been described as "unpretentious" and "simple in outline and detail." The style of hand-carved woodwork that was common in eighteenth-century houses is found inside the John Marshall House. Panels cover one end of both the parlor and the library, which also both feature small cupboards beside the chimney. The main floor rooms all have dadoes except for the small addition added to the first floor. Though the dining room is absent of any paneling such as that located in the library and parlor, it has a "particularly beautiful" cornice and ornamented mantles. In Houses of Old Richmond, Mary Wingfield Scott describes the rooms as "bright and well proportioned" and notes how "particularly charming" the stairway is. She does, however, criticize the arrangement of the rooms as haphazard and unflattering, noting how upon entrance from a tiny vestibule the visitor must choose between turning right to the library or left to the parlor.
The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. In 2005, in honor of the 250th anniversary of John Marshall's birth and in recognition of more than 80 years of stewardship responsibility, the house was deeded to Preservation Virginia by the City of Richmond. Since then the house has undergone major restoration work including a new roof, repainting to the original color scheme, and other physical and mechanical upgrades. The John Marshall House is open seasonally for drop-in tours and throughout the year by appointment and for special events.