There's a very special house that sits on the north-west corner of Duke Street and St. Asaph Street. It occupies a large lot and maintains much of the character and original detail that adorned the home at the time of it's construction in 1784.

Richard Pratt in A Treasury of Early American Homes (New York: Whittlesley House, 1949) referred to the house as "one of the choice examples of early American elegance in the United States." Beyond the large and impressive masonry residence the home also retains its original brick coach house.

This home has quite a bit of historical significance and is recognized in the National Register Historic Places. It is documented in writing by George Washington that he and Martha dined at this residence and were close acquaintances with the home's builder, Benjamin Dulany. 

Though we've personally never been inside the house, the Library of Congress has several photos from the 1930s-1960s that highlight the original and intact interior. 

When Marquis de Lafayette visited Alexandria in 1824, he stayed in a home across the street. But the steps of the Dulany house offered a better platform, so he ventured atop these steps and addressed the town of Alexandria that has convened to welcome him.

What do you think about this beautiful home? 

Are you shocked this home is a private residence rather than a museum? 

If you had the opportunity, would you like to live in something with so much historical significance, or do you feel that would limit your ability to make the home a place where you want to live? As you can see from the exterior photos, it's remained largely unaltered in the last 80 or so years.

I know I'd love to live in a house like this, that's for sure. And if you know the people that own this house, or you own it and would like to allow us to photograph the interior, just let us know and we'll be over in a few minutes.

Do you have a favorite home in your neighborhood that you always pause to admire? Perhaps the home itself, a beautiful garden, interesting portico, or some other architectural feature that captivates you? If so, we'd love to hear all about it in the comment section, or snap a photo and send it to [email protected] for a chance to be featured in an upcoming "Around Town" segment.

Comments 10

Comments

MELISSA
5/22/2013 at 11:38 AM
If I could own more than once house, definitely. I could see with a house that is so well preserved and historically accurate where it would be hard to make it livable and current, or even make a small change that could potentially destroy the historical integrity of the house. I would be nervous!
Wendy
5/23/2013
We totally hear what you're saying, and completely respect that. If anything, I wish more people buying old historic homes had your sensibility, Melissa. It's such a shame to see people buy old homes, only to gut the interior.
JC
5/22/2013 at 3:18 PM
It's gorgeous, and I'm not surprised that it's a private residence. There are a large number of stunning older homes that are private residences. I also know from experience that just because it's a museum, it doesn't mean that the home will be well cared for. Here in town, we have a fabulous historic "plantation style" home built in the early 1800s. It's one of the oldest homes in Ontario, and although it's owned by the government/Parks Ontario, it's been closed for decades, and it's slowly rotting away (due to lack of funds and other bureaucratic crap).

I made a post about this home a while back on my blog: my1923foursquare.blogspot.ca/2012/03/inverarden-house.html

Quickie side note: your "read full post" link isn't working (it links to the photo above it).
Wendy
5/23/2013
Good point, JC, and thanks for sharing the link to your post on the Inverarden House. Wow, what a cool place, but such a shame it's falling into disrepair!

Thanks for your note on the "read full post." We'll keep our eyes out for it in the future.
5/22/2013 at 3:45 PM
Another exellent example of early Federal architecture in Alexandria. We aren't at all surprised that it's a private residence. As JC noted, some private residences are cared for much better than museums.
Wendy
5/23/2013
It's a gorgeous home, that's for sure, and yes, JC has a really good point about private residences vs. museums or government owned buildings.

Do you guys make it down to Alexandria, given your close-ish proximity?
Jan
5/23/2013 at 7:39 AM
I live in suburbia, so although there are a few lovely old farmhouses here and there, I'm more likely to see architectural mishmashes like the house that's a modern-boxy-shaped stucco McMansion with a Georgian front portico, Italianate front porch railing/posts, and Adirondack chairs on the front porch. Oy.
Wendy
5/23/2013
Wow! Sounds like quite a sight. I guess if you can't pick a favorite architectural style, why not have a little of everything? ;-)
Will
5/23/2013 at 11:35 AM
It's a beautiful house, but I would prefer something I could change to my liking. Anything I did to that house would haunt me.
Wendy
5/23/2013
And the house might haunt you too! :-)
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