For Sale: Robert E. Lee's Boyhood Home Mar 27, 2019 12:13:26 GMT -5 jason, kitty, and 1 more like this
Post by Graveyardbride on Mar 27, 2019 12:13:26 GMT -5
For Sale: Robert E. Lee’s Boyhood Home
The historic Georgian/Federal-style home at 607 Oronoco Street in Alexandria, Virginia, the boyhood home of General Robert E. Lee, has been reduced in price. Originally listed at $8.5 million, the six-bedroom, six-bath, 8,145-square-foot dwelling on a .49-acre lot is just minutes from downtown Washington and now it can be yours for a mere $6,250,000.
Built in 1795 by John Potts – who lived in the house only a year before selling it to William Fitzhugh, a plantation owner and Continental Congress delegate – the registered Virginia landmark is sometimes referred to as the Potts-Fitzhugh House. George Washington was friendly with both Potts and Fitshugh and he and Martha dined in the home on numerous occasions.
The Lee family rented the imposing, three-story domicile in 1812, when the man destined to become one of the greatest military leaders of all time was only 5-years-old. Lee lived in the home with his family (who occupied the residence for more than 80 years) until 1825, when he left to attend West Point, where he never received a single demerit. Lee proved himself an exemplary military leader during the Mexican-American War of 1846.
In 1860, after Abraham Lincoln, who supported the Morrill Tariff Act and had promised his New England industrialist supporters that if elected, he would make the tariff even higher, was elected president. The Southern states were already paying 75-85 percent of the costs of operating the federal government and, protesting an even greater tax burden, seceded from the Union. Lincoln, realizing the Untied States could not survive without the rich, agricultural South, refused to let them go in peace – which is all they asked – and prepared to invade the newly-formed Confederate States of America. In April 1861, he offered the command of his army to his most able military leader, Robert E. Lee, who had previously declared, “My loyalty to Virginia ought to take precedence over that which is due to the federal government. If Virginia stands by the old Union, so will I. But, if she secedes, then I will still follow my native state with my sword, and need be with my life.” Virginia seceded April 4, 1861. The rest, as they say, is history, ... though in recent years, that history has been altered significantly in the name of political correctness.
As a boy, Lee loved the white snowball bushes (Viburnum plicatum) growing in the side yard of the family home on Oronoco Street. Years later, after the terrible war, in which 620,000 men and boys lost their lives, ended and he was a man of 63 – old beyond his years – Lee returned to the house where members of his family still lived and climbed the wall to see if the snowballs were in bloom. A few months later, he died.
The Confederate general is the most famous American to call the Alexandria house home, but there have been other noteworthy residents. Archibald MacLeish, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Librarian of Congress under Franklin D. Roosevelt, lived at the historic address, as did Royd D. Sayers, chief of the Bureau of Mines in the FDR administration.
Beginning in 1967, The Stonewall Jackson Foundation, later The Lee-Jackson Foundation, operated the house as a museum. But as the old building deteriorated, it became increasingly costly to maintain and in 2000, the Foundation sold the dwelling – which is on the National Register of Historic Place – to Mark and Ann Kington for $2,500,000.
The Kingtons spent three years restoring the home, which included removing 43 layers of paint and repairing masonry, woodwork, plaster, doors, windows and hardware. Finally, when was restored to its former glory, Mark Kington described it as “a new house inside an antique envelope.” But not everything was repaired: For example, the original hardware on the front door was mistakenly installed upside-down and remains as it was.
The listing agents are Robert Hryniewicki, Adam Rackliffe and Christopher Leary of HRL Partners with Washington Fine Properties.
Sources: Jeff Clabaugh, WTOP, March 26, 2019; Emily Leayman, The Patch, March 26, 2019; Kathy Orton, The Washington Post, March 30, 2018; The Lee-Jackson Foundation; and Trulia.