Federal Charm Lives in Home in Heart of Historic Old Town

By Lerner, Michele | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 24, 1997 | Go to article overview

Federal Charm Lives in Home in Heart of Historic Old Town


Lerner, Michele, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


While some may define luxury living as owning plenty of land, a mansion with a ballroom or an estate high on a hill, to others the ultimate luxury is owning an 18th-century home in Old Town Alexandria.

Residents of Old Town appreciate not only the rich history of their homes and surrounding community, but also the convenience of being within walking distance of riverfront parks, a marina, restaurants, shops of all types and many art galleries.

The 213-year-old home at 219 S. Lee St., on the market for $595,000, was built by a ship's captain named Lewis Weston in 1783. Current owners Joseph and Lydia Odle have treasured their home for 20 years, enjoying both the history of the property and the prime location - just two blocks from shops and restaurants and one block from the river.

From the street, architecture enthusiasts will recognize the marks of the Federal style in the flat facade, off-center entrance and large windows. The original brickwork was laid in the Flemish bond pattern, with two protruding rows of brick called a "belt course" marking the second level.

Eighteenth-century style abounds inside the home as well, particularly in the library, which Weston used as a counting room, where he sold imported goods to local merchants.

Turned-wood forms in the shape of inverted wine jugs were a symbol of hospitality in Weston's day, and today they provide decorative support for the library's mantel. The pewter-based grate in the library fireplace is identical to one in the banquet hall at Mount Vernon.

Original heart-of-pine floors, paneled doors and decorative moldings are found throughout the house, which has five working fireplaces. A spiral staircase patterned after a typical 18th-century ship's stairway connects the two bedroom levels.

The spacious formal living room behind the library has shades of mauve and pale green in the paneling, moldings and swags and jabots at the windows, all of which blend beautifully with the hardwood floor. …

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