(CNN) – Sixteen-fifty-one Pennsylvania Avenue isn't quite as famous as the address right across the street.
But on Thursday the four-story townhouse will be in the spotlight, as Blair House plays host to the nationally televised summit on health care with President Obama and congressional leaders.
Blair House is officially the president's guest house, operated by the State Department as the home to international dignitaries during visits to Washington. But from efforts to stop the Civil War to decisions on firing a popular general, and even a dramatic assassination attempt, the building has been the scene of historic moments that go far beyond a diplomatic hotel.
The building has stood since 1824, built as a home for the first surgeon general of the U.S. Army. But a decade later, it was bought by the politically powerful Blair family, as Francis Preston Blair became a key backer of President Andrew Jackson.