Real Estate

Historic Properties for Sale: The Feds Are Alright Edition

Posted on: June 3rd, 2011 by David Garber


The East Coast doesn’t have the same glowing neon romance of the West Coast - those quivering sunsets through L.A. palms and streets dripping with celebrity, mid-century nostalgia, and the overspray of a hundred automatic lawn sprinklers shaking booty to the rythm of the volume-up convertables driving by.

Instead, the East Coast prides itself on it's more muted sensibilities. More about deep roots and an idealized Martha Stewart Living appeal. Gingham and boxwoods. Colonial Williamsburg. Summers on the Chesapeake Bay and Martha’s Vineyard. Central Park. Subways, soft shell crabs, and Arnold Palmers. Oh, and history. Lots of history.

134 Elfreth's Alley in Philadelphia. Click photo for the listing.

Federal Style architecture is historic East Coast. That might be a little unfair to the slew of other styles and architectural periods, but if you're thinking stately and symmetrical, iron and brick (or wood, stone, or stucco), and fanlight windows over front doors, it's likely you're thinking Federal. And you guessed it, all of today's Historic Properties for Sale are in the Federal Style. So grab a lobster roll, sit back, and get buyin'!

First up is a wonderful end-unit rowhouse on Philadelphia's Elfreth's Alley, "the nation's oldest residential street." The house is actually completely asymmetrical from the front, which lends it a whimsical Fairy-tale Federal (just made that up but hoping it catches on) feel. The 1800 home features 3 bedrooms, two full baths, and a still-works-today period color scheme.

Next is the Peter Barnart House in Salem, New Jersey (just outside Wilmington, Delaware). This completely charming house is listed for only - wait for it - $149,000. Situated on the historic Market Street, this 1800 clapboard Federal has four bedrooms, one and a half baths, and a farmhouse kitchen.

A bedroom in the Oyer House in Huntingdon, PA. Click photo for the listing.

The Oyer House in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania is only a 20-minute drive to State College. So for you Nittany Lions fans out there, this might just be the place for you. Immaculately restored, yet fitted out with modern appliances and amenities, this house exudes Federal Style and East Coast class.

Last up is the Coon Tavern in Haverhill Corner, New Hampshire. The name doesn't exactly scream "Federal" (if I had to guess I'd probably go with some sort of ramshackle log cabin), but this 1800 (okay I'm starting to see a theme here...) tavern-turned home is one of the more put-together, symmetry-or-die homes I've seen listed. But with its perfectly American backyard barn and effortless-looking landscaping, this home just about perfect.

Still on the lookout? Check out the many, many other listings at our Historic Properties for Sale page.

David Garber is a member of the Digital and New Media team at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. After writing the intro, he wants to be within sight of a palm tree *immediately*, and wonders if he just might try to scrounge together a West Coast (insert hand symbol) only blog post one of these days.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.


The spectacular view from "The Crown Jewel of South Hill" in Bellingham, WA. Click photo for listing.

A room with a view. No, not the 1986 classic starring Helena Bonham Carter. I’m talking quite literally about houses with spectacular vistas. Whether you’re a city person, a country person, or a little bit of both, that’s typically the goal, right? Views of Central Park. Views of the valley. Mountain views. Ocean views. Skyline views. Views are as much a selling point as granite countertops and walk-in closets dedicated entirely to shoes. As has already made completely obvious in this introduction, today’s Historic Properties for Sale post is about the views. From Bellingham, Washington, to Boyds, Maryland – these houses can wow and inspire “Honey, look!” conversations in even the most stone-hearted of basement-dwellers.

First up is “The Crown Jewel of South Hill” in Bellingham, Washington. While looking through the pictures, I had to google “Goonies film location” because this house overlooks a very similar perfectly-Northwest landscape of faded pastel and rusty-rooftop homes, evergreens, and the Americana grit of small town industrial waterfront as in the pre-teen 80s adventure. But it turns out “The Goonies” was filmed in Astoria, Oregon. Anyway. Built in 1906 by the wealthy owner of a local shingle mill, this neoclassical home is outfitted with modern kitchen and baths, awesome porches and decks (see above), and even a wood-paneled attic ping-pong room. Truffle Shuffle worthy if you ask me.

The view from "The Jewel of Cataline Island." (Click photo for listing.)

Moving on down the coast to, well, just off the coast, this next house is listed as “The Jewel of Catalina Island.” Hold the phone – another “jewel of” listing? Yes, and with these views it’s hard to argue with that name. Once the home of American author Zane Grey, this pueblo-style home is just 15 minutes by helicopter and an hour away by boat to Los Angeles.

This next house does not *collective sigh of relief* have the word “jewel” in its name, but boy does it have views. Built in 1878 by the niece and nephew-in-law of Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine, the home – named Winderborne - is surrounded by the 500-acre Seneca Lake in Boyds, Maryland, just 30 miles northwest of Washington, DC. Unlike the first two properties, this house is in need of substantial interior and exterior work. Try to think of it more as an investment in “making it your own” rather than any sort of Tom Hanks in “The Money Pit”-style venture. Yes, there really is an 80s movie reference for everything.

David Garber is a member of the Ditigal and New Media team at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The first house he bought had an amazing view of the National Cathedral. One only had to squeeze through a hatch in the attic, climb up to the roof, and wait for all the neighborhood leaves to fall to really see it.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Historic Properties for Sale: Poolside and Dreaming Edition

Posted on: May 20th, 2011 by David Garber


Lean back in your chair, close your eyes, and think about what makes a great summer house. There are the images of screen doors, newspaper and crab-covered red check table cloths, and fresh-cut hydrangeas in brightly-colored watering cans. There are the glowing pillar candles in sand-and-starfish-filled glass canisters lighting time-worn wicker furniture, white wine, and good laughs. Model ships, crisp white columns, and chicken-wire cabinetry. Lemonade in Bell jars. Splashes of nautical Americana - the rope-strung signal flags, mounted oars, and ship wheels on wall sconces - abound in glorious summerhousity. But then there’s that other element, the bullet point on the realtor’s brochure that caught your weary winter eye and made you pick up the phone and call for more information. That element that helped define why you fell in love with the house in the first place.

[This is where we pause to acknowledge that there are three different summer house dreams: houses on the beach, houses in the mountains/country, and houses with pools. If you already have a house that manages to satisfy all three, let’s talk. I have a week in July I’m trying to book and I think we’d be great friends.]

Ingleside Estate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. (Photo: StoneHouse Properties)

For today’s Historic Properties for Sale post, I’ve pulled together a boutique collection (real estate lingo for “list”) of houses with pools. Shimmering, refreshing, anything-to-get-the-kids-away-from-their-screens, aquamarine pools.

First up is the “could this be any more classic New England” Ingleside Estate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Situated on over 17 acres, the white clapboard house was originally built in 1748 and was substantially renovated in the 1870s. Ingleside features an oval pool and separate pool house lounge, and grounds that boast a formal apple tree allée, tall evergreens, mature boxwoods, meandering stone walls, and an impressive collection of ornamental trees. With seven bedrooms, five and a half baths, and a modern kitchen, the main house might just be the perfect family escape.

A 1913 Craftsman in Dallas, Texas. (Click photo to see the listing)

Now, this next house is right in the heart of old Dallas. Hey, who am I to discriminate if someone’s looking for the perfect neighborhood escape? This 1913 Craftsman home has an amazing front porch, updated kitchen, four bedrooms, two baths, a separate guest cottage, and an immaculate landscape and backyard pool. Yours for the seemingly quite reasonable price of $485,000.

Last is the equal parts grand and welcoming Greek Revival “Hillcrest” estate in Clifton Forge, Virginia. Surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains, the house is just 30 minutes south of the historic Homestead Resort. With limitless access to the great outdoors, this house is a perfect mountain/country escape for anyone interested in hiking, fishing, and small-town exploration. Then again, with a pool out back, some of that exertion might just have to wait.

Okay, folks, the blog post is up. And ‘round these parts, the competition is stiff. So crunch those numbers, call the movers, and get ready for a summer of poolside bliss. And if a pool isn’t the end all, be all feature for you, check out the many other listing on our Historic Properties for Sale website.


David Garber is a member of the Digital and New Media team at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He will be spending this summer's pool season mostly indoors, writing blog posts about historic preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.


Today’s post is all about historic inns and hotels that are listed for sale. And while it’s unlikely that the majority of this blog’s dedicated readership is in the market for such a property, there's always a handful available, they’re pretty to look at, and it’s Friday, which means that you’re already daydreaming so you might as well dream about historic hotels.

Bed and breakfast for sale in Charlestown, New Hampshire. (Click the photo to see the listing.)

At this point you’re sitting in front of your computer thinking: This guy has gone nuts. Slightly Suggestive Signs Edition? What does that have to do with hotels? You’ve got a point. But you probably wouldn’t have clicked on it if I had titled it Historic Hotels Edition – and come on now, do you really think I’d go to all this trouble just to make you read? (Don’t answer that).

Moving right along…

We’ll start up north in Charlestown, New Hampshire – the town first known only as Plantation No. 4 – and move down the East Coast. First up is this gorgeous c. 1755 bed and breakfast featuring seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and the charm and good bones to be around for another 250 years. Situated on a half-acre lot in the largest historic district in the state of New Hampshire, this DIY inn can be yours for $334,900. Tack on an extra $60K if you want to maintain it as a bed and breakfast. Website included.

Kenilworth Lodge in Sebring, Florida. (Click the photo to see the listing)

This next property is much more hotel-ish (think 17 bedrooms instead of seven), but not in the highway-exit Holiday Inn Express kind of way. Think hotel from The Shining (happy Friday the 13th by the way) with a lot more gingerbread Victorian detailing. Located in the heart of Monterey, Virginia (which is located in an area called “Virginia’s Switzerland”), the Highland Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places and features a wide double front porch, lots of rocking chairs, and crisp mountain air.

Skipping down to the warmer climes of Sebring, Florida is the Kennilworth Lodge. The historic Spanish-style main building was built in 1916 and has 84 hotel rooms and two ballrooms. Outside are an additional 18 poolside cottages and 6 one-bedroom apartments. The hotel is in active use, and is a popular destination for golfers and, due to its location near Sebring International Raceway - one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States, diehard Formula One fans.

But wait! The Kenilworth Lodge is also known for its sign, which features the hotel’s name, but also space for custom messages. Messages interesting enough for the local News Sun to write a public interest piece about:

[The general manager] likes the sign to be “slightly suggestive,” but not over the line. An example of this could be seen on July 31, when the sign simply said: “Last chance to make jokes about Baked Bean Month.”

“That’s as suggestive as we get. We’re trying to keep it clean with nothing R-rated.”

Ahh, the power of creative marketing.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Historic Properties for Sale: Free Pony (!) Edition

Posted on: May 6th, 2011 by David Garber


The barn at Sunnybrook Farm in Canton, Ohio. (Click photo to see listing)

So your daughter/granddaughter/niece/neighbor kid’s birthday is coming up and you’ve already spent two hours pacing the Barbie aisle at the not-so-local big box searching for the one you think she either doesn’t yet have or hasn’t already given a buzz cut. Mind racing and images of pink balloons, smiles, funfetti goodness, and, well, the pulsating sound of a room full of eight year olds screaming is taking up precious headspace, but the perfect gift still eludes you. Enter Sunnybrook Farm in Canton, Ohio.

As if its gorgeous yellow farmhouse, whimsically picturesque barn, and within-walking-distance proximity to Starbucks weren’t enough to sell any buyer on Sunnybrook Farm (Name ringing a bell? Buzzkill alert: the book Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and its three movie adaptations take place in Maine, not Ohio.), this historic property listing throws in a unique freebie: a real live pony. Birthday party problem solved. You’re a hero. And little ____ (insert mile-wide-grin-bearing gift recipient’s name here) is the proud owner of every little girl’s dream pet. A priceless moment for the actually quite reasonable price of $499,000. Do you want to be a hero?

But every property can't feature real live accessory items. For most historic property seekers it's things like orginal hardwood floors and a good vintage that sell the place. Then again, at "The Ailes House" in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, it might be the hardwood walls that do the selling. Not only does the 1860 farmhouse feature antique heart pine underfoot, the timber planks also sheathe the walls (and yet somehow manages to not look anything like most of America's "it's on our DIY list for next year" wood-paneled basement).

The exterior of Bachelor's Hope. (Click photo for listing information)

Now if you're anything like me, flipping through historic property listings is enough to make you want to give a proper name to the house you're living in now. Well, that or you've already named it *cough* something like *cough* "The Buffalo Room" because your (read: my) apartment number matched the area code of Buffalo, New York (home of the 2011 National Preservation Conference). But now we've gone wildly off track.

Bachelor's Hope in southern Maryland is one of those houses with a name that, well,  sounds like it has an interesting back story. Built in 1668 and surrounded by 303 acres, the property boasts a pond (containing catfish, bass, and bluegill - live animals!), three tobacco barns, a horse barn, a corncrib, cultivated farmland, and extensive woodlands. Of note: Bachelor's Hope was owned by Lord Baltimore Cecilius Calvert, the namesake for both the city of Baltimore and Maryland's Calvert County.

Need to see some additional historic properties before making that final decision? See our Historic Properties for Sale website for many more.

David Garber is a member of the Digital and New Media team at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Yes, he really did name his not-estate-like-at-all apartment The Buffalo Room.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Historic Properties for Sale: National Register Edition

Posted on: April 29th, 2011 by David Garber


The May/June issue of Preservation magazine features a primer on the National Register of Historic Places aptly titled “What is the National Register?” The National Register (you can even call it the Register if you’re hip and/or “with it,” just don’t call it the Registry … they really hate that) is a listing by the US Department of the Interior of the Nation's historic and archeological “places worthy of preservation.” In short, to get a home/lighthouse/sunken ship (yes, you read that right) on the National Register, the property owner must want the designation, and a formal application must be submitted to the Department of the Interior. If you’re interested in submitting a property for listing on the Register, their website is a great guide.

Greece meets antebellum North Carolina in the Bobbitt Pendleton Arrington House

This week’s highlighted historic properties for sale are all on the National Register and span three states and three housing styles. Moving from South to North (seriously, I had to pick a direction, and as a DC resident I can claim both northern and southern heritage: case in point, my affinity for both sweetened and unsweetened iced tea), the first house on the list is the Bobbitt-Pendleton-Arrington House in Warrenton, North Carolina. Think “Gone with the Wind” antebellum goodness, minus the drama, plus central AC. And speaking of sweet tea (or mojitos?), this home has a sweeping front porch on which to enjoy them. Originally built in 1793 in the Federal style, the home was significantly modified twice between 1840 and 1868, both doubling its size and transforming it to the Greek Revival style.


the Bowling Green farmhouse, built in 1741

Next up is Bowling Green Farm, the plantation that named the town of Bowling Green, Virginia. Built in 1741 by Revolutionary War Major John Thomas Hoomes, it is a quintessential Virginia estate home, replete with mature boxwoods, cedar lined drives, a gently whitewashed pre-Georgian brick exterior, and - you guessed it - a manicured front lawn ready and waiting for a game of bowls. And while the nearest water-cooler conversation might be in nearby Fredericksburg or one-hour-drive Washington, DC, there’s some great small talk to be made about some of the farm’s early visitors: George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette. Need another hook? Bowling Green Farm now has a one-acre vineyard planted with Cabernet Franc varietals (disclosure: I barely even know what varietals means, but it definitely fits the boxwood/brick/manicured lawn mold). Better act quickly, though, because this property goes to auction on May 3!


Images from a 1930 sales brochure for Hathaway, the Art and Crafts-style estate tucked into New York's Catskills

Last is Hathaway, a grand Arts and Crafts style estate home in the Catskills region of New York, a mere two hours north of the big city. The name alone could almost sell the property (though you'll be better off not thinking of Anne Hathaway at the Oscars), but the story behind its creation seals the deal. Completed in 1907, Hathaway’s low-slung, 35-room expanse gracefully cascades down a slightly overgrown landscape with views of the Hudson Valley. The original owners, philanthropist couple Everit and Edith Macy, knew they wanted a house to escape Manhattan’s upper west side, but were divided on whether they should spend the money on a trip to Europe instead. Edith wanted a house, Everit wanted Europe, and Everit won. What Everit didn’t realize was that during their stay overseas, Edith had orchestrated Hathaway’s construction.


Think you have the historic real estate bug but need more options (What, three houses of completely differing styles spread across the American East aren't enough?)? Head over to the Historic Real Estate site to browse the other listings.

David Garber is a member of the Digital and New Media team at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Not only does he enjoy writing about historic real estate around the country, he has actually bought and rehabbed a handful of historic homes in Washington, DC over the past few years, and, well, likes writing about those, too.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.