Historic Homes and Condos in the Washington Metropolitan Area
If there is one very obvious real estate subtype in the Washington Metropolitan area, it is historic homes and condos for sale. Yes, it’s true that the region has evolved into a highly modern place since the long ago days of old. But there will always be a deep connection to the past.
The early colonists arrived in the mid-1600s, including some who were recipients of massive land grants. The culture was agrarian-based way back then, and tobacco soon became a prevalent cash crop. In time, large plantations became subdivided into smaller farms and ultimately platted for residential development.
Historic Homes for Sale in Old Town Alexandria, Arlington, Montgomery County and Washington, DC.
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Old Town is the historical seat of Alexandria, a place where tobacco was warehoused near the Potomac River as far back as 1732. And while the planning and construction of Washington DC as the nation’s capital dates back to the early 1790s, the area had been inhabited long before then.
What are some of the oldest surviving structures in Washington Metro?
The famous Mount Vernon Plantation in Fairfax County dates to 1735 when it was first built as a one and half story farmhouse by George Washington’s father. It was enlarged by the president himself into the 21-room mansion that still stands today in 1757. Meanwhile, the Ball-Sellers House is the oldest home in Arlington County, first constructed as a log cabin circa 1742 and later added into.
The oldest house in DC’s popular Georgetown neighborhood is the aptly named Old Stone House, built in 1765 (predating the White House). Wheat Row is a collection of four Georgian row houses located in DC’s Southwest Waterfront area, dating to the 1790s. Today, they remain as one of the few old residential buildings in a sector that is going through a massive redevelopment with new piers, shops, restaurants and upscale condos for sale.
And on Prince Street in Alexandria, you’ll find Gentry Row, Regent Row and Captain’s Row—a collection of wonderful old Federal and Georgian-style row-houses built in the late 18th century. These are much more than dusty footprints—they still pop up as active listings in the local real estate marketplace. A three-story, three-bedroom, four bath home built in 1784 recently listed for $1.3 million, complete with original wide-plank hardwood floors, five fireplaces, and gorgeous second-floor veranda.
The majority of row-houses, however, were built from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, a period of time in which housing for the working class was on the rise. These side-by-side multi-level residences can be found in heavy concentrations in many neighborhoods throughout Washington DC as well as Alexandria, and to a lesser extent, Arlington and Fairfax.
In the modern era, row-houses have turned into townhouses for sale as well as being subdivided into condo units. Restored and renovated, these antiques come in a variety of appealing architectural designs including Federal, Georgian, Victorian, Gothic, Beaux Arts, Richardsonian Romanesque, Colonial Revival, Second Empire and Eastlake.
Former schools are another interesting adaptive reuse trend DC, with developers transforming abandoned brick buildings into upscale condos and lofts for sale. Among the many conversions are the Bryan School Lofts, Berret School Lofts, the Pierce School and the Logan School—the latter originally built in 1890 and now sporting towering 14-foot ceilings and wood-burning fireplaces in each unit.
There’s plenty of other unusual repurposed places, such as the Yale Steam Laundry built in 1902 and now functioning as lap of luxury condos. Or how about the historic Portner’s Brewery in Old Town, now transformed into townhouses as well as a new restaurant/brew house? You can also add warehouses, factories, liveries, health buildings, churches and many more unusual spaces.
But it’s not only about condos, row houses, and lofts. Historic detached single-family homes for sale are also a huge thing, from gracious old Colonial manors overlooking the Potomac River to charming Victorian farmhouses.
Craftsman homes deserve their own special hat tip. The biggest supplier of these early mail order
“build it yourself” homes was Sears Roebuck who shipped out roughly 75,000 kits in a variety of models between 1908 and 1940. Neighborhoods like Del Ray in Alexandria are especially well known for heavy concentrations of these gems.
Also worth noting is the Modern Midcentury subtype—homes generally built from the 1940s through to the 1970s. These stylish pads are well-represented locally in the Hollin Hills neighborhood in the southern part of Alexandria. Here you’ll find 450 award-winning residences with low roofs and 24-foot window walls set back into woodsy naturalistic lots.
Time flies fast—the modernist community is now a national historic district, joining the countless others throughout Alexandria, Arlington, DC, Fairfax County, Falls Church, Arlington and many parts of Maryland.
Put all of this together and it becomes evident that historic homes and condos for sale in Washington Metro are the sum of many different parts and many eras, from the 1700s to the middle part of the 20th century. Naturally, updating is important—who wouldn’t want new concrete counters and stainless steel appliances right next to those super cool old exposed brick walls?
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Listing information last updated on June 20th, 2019 at 2:45am EDT.