The intersection of 7th Street NW and H Street NW is the heart of D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood today, but prior to the 1930s it was populated primarily by German immigrants. Before the American Civil War, 7th Street NW was the city’s primary commercial district, the street lined with three-story Federal-style townhouses with shops on the ground floor and residences above.
Mary Surratt’s boarding house at 604 H Street NW has been substantially renovated through the years (and currently houses the Wok and Roll Chinese and Japanese restaurant. The upper rooms have been converted to karaoke lounges where the spirits may sing along. Mary’s husband, John Surratt, bought the building in 1853. Following John’s unexpected death in 1862, Mary rented out their family tavern in Maryland and moved to the home on H Street with her children whom she then converted into a boarding house in order to earn a living.
On December 23, 1864, Dr. Samuel Mudd introduced John Surratt, Jr. to John Wilkes Booth. Booth recruited John Surratt Jr. into his conspiracy to kidnap Abraham Lincoln. Confederate agents also began frequenting the boarding house. Booth visited the boarding house many times over the next few months, sometimes at Mary Surratt’s request. The question remains did she really know what was going on?
The structure may also house Mary Surratt’s ghost. From the 1870s onward, occupants of the building have claimed that Surratt’s spirit is responsible for the incomprehensible mumbling, disembodied vices, and whispers, footsteps, muffled sobs, and creaking floorboards which have unnerved them in the former boarding house,
The ghost of Mary Surratt, the convicted conspirator in the Lincoln assassination, is thought to be responsible for the unexplainable noises and cries heard in the former boarding house, especially on the second floor. She was the first woman ever be executed by the Federal Government. Her son was also tried by a military tribunal but was found not guilty. Upon her execution, her daughter Anne sold the house for a meager sum. Ever since, the occupants and visitors have complained about their unearthly neighbors.