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 the current location on 18 Agron Road, one of several locations the embassy uses in Jerusalem. 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 United States bought the property in the 1930s. Since then, this building 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 from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and that is sacred to billions more throughout the world.
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.