Rowhouses, Early and Last Century in the Washington Metro Area

Anyone who has watched a movie or television show based in the Washington Metropolitan area is probably familiar with images of row houses. For those who actually live in the region, the side-by-side structures are an even more common sight with their staggered roof lines and eclectic nature. Built in a wide variety of styles, these are among the oldest properties for sale in the region, dating back to the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the modern era, these contiguously fronted buildings became prime candidates for restoration and conversion to townhouse condos for sale. From plain brick to brightly painted colors, these splendid residences dot the landscape throughout the District’s urban communities and in many parts of Northern Virginia.

Early and Last Century Rowhouses for Sale in the Washington Metropolitan Area

All Listings $200,000 - $300,000 $300,000 - $400,000
$400,000 - $500,000 $500,000 - $600,000 $600,000 - $700,000
$700,000 - $800,000 $800,000 - $900,000 $900,000 - $1,000,000
Over $1,000,000
Price, High to Low
384 Properties Found. Page 1 of 22

2230 Massachusetts Ave Nw


MLS#: DC8658546
5 Bed, 6 Bath
7964 Sqft, 0.07 Acres

Photo of Listing #DC9877800

3024 Q St Nw


MLS#: DC9877800
6 Bed, 6½ Bath
4316 Sqft, 0.2 Acres

2344 Massachusetts Ave Nw


MLS#: DC9872239
5 Bed, 6 Bath
6760 Sqft, 0.06 Acres

1821 23rd St Nw


MLS#: DC9879729
5 Bed, 5½ Bath
4950 Sqft, 0.05 Acres

2220 Wyoming Ave Nw


MLS#: DC9771851
6 Bed, 6 Bath
6055 Sqft, 0.08 Acres

Photo of Listing #DC9859544

639 East Capitol St Se


MLS#: DC9859544
5 Bed, 3 Bath
4752 Sqft, 0.08 Acres

Photo of Listing #DC9877037

2127 R St Nw


MLS#: DC9877037
6 Bed, 6½ Bath
5675 Sqft, 0.05 Acres

Photo of Listing #DC9766232

1679 31st St Nw


MLS#: DC9766232
5 Bed, 5½ Bath
4860 Sqft, 0.02 Acres

1733 Q St Nw


MLS#: DC9863518
5 Bed, 3½ Bath
3283 Sqft, 0.05 Acres

1412 34th St Nw


MLS#: DC9871215
2 Bed, 2½ Bath
2375 Sqft, 0.04 Acres

812 East Capitol St Ne


MLS#: DC9849097
4 Bed, 3½ Bath
3136 Sqft, 0.04 Acres

Photo of Listing #DC9862427

2908 N St Nw


MLS#: DC9862427
4 Bed, 4½ Bath
3071 Sqft, 0.11 Acres

1319 21st St Nw


MLS#: DC9816932
7 Bed, 4½ Bath
2408 Sqft, 0.05 Acres

Photo of Listing #DC9854131

1738 R St Nw


MLS#: DC9854131
6 Bed, 4½ Bath
3786 Sqft, 0.05 Acres

Photo of Listing #DC9851229

1619 21st St Nw


MLS#: DC9851229
5 Bed, 5½ Bath
3600 Sqft, 0.02 Acres

Photo of Listing #DC9843533

21 8th St Ne


MLS#: DC9843533
12 Bed, 5 Bath
5656 Sqft, 0.07 Acres

Photo of Listing #DC9819691

3417 Prospect St Nw


MLS#: DC9819691
3 Bed, 2 Bath
2780 Sqft, 0.06 Acres



MLS#: DC9820959
3 Bed, 1½ Bath
3389 Sqft, 0.05 Acres

It is not at all surprising that row houses are such hot commodities when it comes to homes for sale in Alexandria, Arlington, DC and other areas. The multilevel design adapt well to a variety of purposes—one building can become an amalgamation of residences. Refinish those hardwood floors, add or subtract walls, equip the kitchens with concrete counters and stainless steel appliances and you have the perfect combination of old history and modern living. Basements add another usable level, for living space or recreation.

The origins of these conjoined dwellings lies overseas, where they served as cost-effective housing going as far back as the 1600s and gaining in popularity during the industrial revolution. It wasn’t long before they sprung up in early American cities, built on long and narrow lots that were perfectly suited for maximum space efficiency.

“Gentry Row” in the 200 block of Old Town Alexandria’s Prince Street offers some of the oldest row houses (also sometimes spelled as one word, rowhouse), in Washington Metro, dating to the late 1700s in both Federal and Georgian architecture. In DC, “Wheat Row” is a surviving collection of four brick townhouses in the Georgian style, built around 1795. Georgetown in DC is also known for some very early examples of the genre.

As development increased throughout DC, Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County and Maryland, so did the proliferation of these narrow homes. But it was the mid-to-late 1800s that saw not only the biggest boom, but an astounding uptick in styles.

While the term Victorian is often used to describe the more ornate and varied detailing of terraced architecture in the late 1800s, there are actually a number of more specific subsets. These include Beaux Arts, Gothic, Queen Anne, Italianate, Eastlake and Richardsonian Romanesque. Common attributes include spired towers, turrets, pronounced front bays that can be rounded or multisided, and rooflines that vary from building to building.

You’ll find stunning examples in Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and other popular neighborhoods. But there might be no finer example of the variety of shapes and sizes than the LeDroit Park neighborhood right next-door to Howard University. Here, an architect named James McGill built 64-row houses during a very short period between 1873 and 1877, and each one was different! Amazingly, 50 of these iconic structures are still standing.

But the most prolific developer by far was Henry Wardman, known as King of the Row Houses during the early 20th century. You’ll find his buildings throughout DC’s northeast, from Victorian styles to the later Second Empire and Eastlake forms, typified by a boxy shape, front porches, Mansard roofs and dormers.

You can also find semi-detached rowhouses in DC, Arlington, Fairfax and other areas, usually with two units per structure and resembling a cross between duplex, townhouse and single-family home. These hybrid structures came into prominence during the 1920s to early 1940s.

The same era also resulted in what is now known as the Arlington Village Historic District, right off Columbia Pike near the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse in South Arlington, VA. There are 657 contributing buildings here including 104 Colonial Revival rowhouses. The community was developed by Gustave Ring and designed by Harvey Warwick around 1939. Today, the structures serve as competitively priced condos for sale in an area going through a transformative revitalization.

So next time you catch the opening credits of House of Cards on Netflix and see those pastel-colored row houses drifting by in a cinematic haze, just know that you too could own a piece of restored history.  And, given the urban nature of these homes, you’ll probably be close to great bars, restaurants and convenient transit. 

The listing content relating to real estate for sale on this web site is courtesy of MRIS. Listing information comes from various brokers who participate in the MRIS IDX.Properties listed with brokerage firms other than District Partners Real Estate are marked with the MRIS Logo and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers.The properties displayed may not be all the properties available. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.All listing information copyright MRIS 2017.

Listing information last updated on March 27th, 2017 at 10:12am EDT.