Several weeks ago we took a look at 12 buildings and homes that were torn down in Alexandria. Let’s now turn our gaze to a dozen that are still standing.
We’ll qualify our list by not selecting the ones that typically garner most of the attention, such as the Ramsay House, Carlyle House, Gadsby’s Tavern, the Lyceum and others.
Once again, our selective process is subjective, and will draw on aesthetic and historic values. If your favorite is not here, please understand there are a lot of historic homes and buildings in Old Town. Of course, we would love to hear from you about your favorites.
Last time I created a monster with the way I posted, so this time it will be one by one, as time permits and in no certain order (Cheap, uh?)
517 South Washington
Built: 1880? 1890?
Style: Queen Anne/Free Classic Revival
As we discussed before, a number of beautiful homes were torn down on Washington Street. Fortunately, this one was allowed to stay. The Alexandria Archaeology site describes it as,
“perhaps Alexandria's finest example of Queen Anne/Free Classic Revival residential.”
In his piece, David Sach’s of the Alexandria Times (February 24, 2011) provides a brief history. The home was built about three years after the death of bookseller George E. French in 1890. His son Robert resided there.
In 1903, the home was sold to Martin Lawler. French sued him but lost the case (When I conducted my survey of commemorative markers, I was somewhat surprised no plaque had been erected there. Perhaps the controversy played a role).
After Lawler passed away in 1916, his son Nicholas occupied the dwelling. In the mid-70s, ownership passed to a small company, then a counseling service.
According to the Interplan website, a renovation was completed in 2001. Their architects used an innovative approach that preserved the building’s architecture “while incorporating twenty-first century offices.” The Carriage House at the rear of the property was also renovated and converted into conference and library spaces.
The home is now for sale once again. You can park in front of it (9 am to 5 pm), but be aware that southbound drivers seem to think you can't.