Alexandria Virginia 1860 Carriage House

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

I LOVE doing inspections on old, historic homes in Alexandria, Virginia.

The city is so full of history, virtually everywhere you go.

Over the years I have done many inspections on many historic homes there.

Yesterday was no exception.

This is a carriage house to a mansion directly behind.  It was built in 1860.  While nobody could tell me who the owner(s) of the mansion were over the years, it was fun nonetheless to have a look at the place.

While a bit hard to see in this photo, there have been many repairs to the brick work over the decades.  There has been settling.

There were serious repairs evident in the crawl space below.  Everything appeared to have been done very well.

While there were a few things to bring up on the report, nothing too severe to be easily fixed.

The buyer wants to do remodeling too, so some of the things can be done when that is underway.

Next to this house there is one of the two original cobblestone streets preserved by the city.  It is fun to walk on them and know they have been there a long time.

Doing the inspection was a pleasure.

This is what you see looking out a rear bedroom window.

The house on the left is the historic mansion for which this is the carriage house.  It is located on a famous thoroughfare in Alexandria.

The house on the right, I was told, is Robert E. Lee's childhood home.  His front door faces the mansion. You can see that when his house was built, they had duplexes!

From this angle you cannot see how pretty the back yard is.  It is narrow and long and a little park. 

The walls surrounding it are eight feet high.

They have been there a while too.

This is the view of the side of the house.  It shows the pathway between the two houses, all the way to the mansion seen behind, about 50 yards away.

Question:

Look carefully and you can see four stars.

WHAT ARE THEY FOR?

Home inspectors probably will know what they do.

Hint:  The stars are NOT decorative!

Hint:  There are four more stars on the other side directly opposite these.

Hint:  You will not find them on new structures.

You can pick this little puppy up for just under $1 million!  Well, that is, if the new buyer is willing to sell.  Likely he is not.  But who knows?  Maybe you can cut him a deal.

My recommendation:  When you purchase an old, historic property, try to find out the history.  That will make the whole experience come alive.  Who knows - a Founding Father may have slept in your bedroom!

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Yes, the stars are stuctural.  They are attached to rods, and called various things, but mostly wall washers (also referred to as: wall anchors, brick anchors, tie plates, iron tie-rod plates, earthquake bolts, pattress plates, or gib plates).  They actually hold the house together to prevent lateral movement and bulging as the structure wants to spread over time.

Here is a link to a blacksmith in Baltimore who produces authentic reconstruction materials to replace these types of things if they should rust or wear out.

http://thecasthouse.com/About%20Cast%20House%20and%20Windy%20Hill%20Forge%20page.htm

At the bottom of the page click on wall washers and you will see various styles.  I have seen many types from acorns to diamonds to squares to flowers to initials to florets.  They were used primarily in the 1700's and 1800's.  Very historical and representative of those eras.

Nov 14, 2009 02:31 AM #23
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Kate - no, not decorative, unless you see them on new construction.  See the link above.  As to Croakster, he is such a turkey that Thanksgiving is a very special holiday.  I did not know he had plans to travel, but can ask.  He says he misses you.  We have had lots of rain here in the past couple of days (the tropical storm came through) so he is very happy here now.

Nov 14, 2009 02:34 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I am very happy everyone has enjoyed this post so much.  The inspection was a blast, for me anyway.

Nov 14, 2009 02:36 AM #25
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks, Wayne and glad to do it!  I will wait to see what others think about your plaques (I know...).  You will have to return later to answer your question, maybe with a photo or two.

Nov 14, 2009 02:39 AM #26
Ambassador
1,251,436
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Jay - I wanted to take a minute to thank you, because I actually learned something completely new today.  I haven't ever seen stars like that unless they were purely decorative.  In Texas (as you and Charles might both well imagine), we have LOTS of stars decorating structures.  :)  On an utterly unrelated note, have I ever told you how much you remind me of Jimmy Johnson, former coach and current commentator?

Nov 14, 2009 03:02 AM #27
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Jason - I actually have had people ask me for "my" autograph, thinking I am Coach Johnson!  It is funny.  Glad you learned something!  I imagine the stars there in Texas are decorative, however... and not in groups...  you know, um, lone star.

Nov 14, 2009 03:05 AM #28
Rainmaker
174,893
Kate Kate
San Diego, CA

Jay, I just heard from Croakster at my blog. I'm setting his place at the Thanksgiving table if you would be willing to share him with us for a few days.

Nov 14, 2009 03:27 AM #29
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Am I my Croakster's keeper?

Nov 14, 2009 03:33 AM #30
Rainer
41,307
Suzy Morris
The Morris Team - Carlsbad, CA

Hi Jay, thanks for posting those lovely pictures.  I lived in Old Town for many years (I'm now in San Diego) and I miss the beautiful and historic buildings.  My hubby and I actually met at Murphy's too! 

Nov 14, 2009 03:34 AM #31
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Suzy - glad I could rekindle some memories!  I love going down there, but it's a fuuur piece from Bristow.

Nov 14, 2009 03:35 AM #32
Rainmaker
985,918
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

I love Old Town.

Nov 14, 2009 05:01 AM #33
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Hi Will.  I love to visit, but I can't afford to live there...  heck, I can hardly afford to eat there!

Nov 14, 2009 05:10 AM #34
Rainer
199,711
Jeani Codrey
The Learning Jeani - New Braunfels, TX
If you're not learning, you're not living!

That is so cool!  I love old homes and love the history of them even more!  Thanks for sharing this property with us!

Nov 14, 2009 08:10 AM #35
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I do too Jeani.  Thanks for stopping in!

Nov 14, 2009 12:53 PM #36
Rainmaker
226,477
Suesan Jenifer Therriault
JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team - Blakeslee, PA
"Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own".

That's a beautiful house to say the least. There are still some really old beautiful structures like this one in New York City. There are also many neat old buildings that have been restored and converted to studios, art galleries, bookstores etc. Almost all have been pinned and you're right, it does seem to work incredibly well. 

Nov 15, 2009 10:48 AM #37
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Well, that's one good reason why they have been around for so long Sue!

Nov 15, 2009 11:27 AM #38
Rainmaker
226,477
Suesan Jenifer Therriault
JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team - Blakeslee, PA
"Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own".

So true Jay, especially when we consider the under ground subway system. Congratulations on the feature by the way.

Nov 15, 2009 11:43 AM #39
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You're right Sue.  The subway goes right underneath that area.

Nov 15, 2009 11:49 AM #40
Rainer
14,627
Wayne Raulin
RE/MAX Services - Boca Raton, FL

What a great response list to o your Old Town post!  Congrats.

Referring back to the plaque on some of the old town homes of a Fire Company.  I guess you could say these meant the owner had fire insurance since he had paid the fire company to come to his house if there was a fire.

Wayne Raulin,RE/MAX Services Boca Raton, FL  showing29@aol.com 

Nov 16, 2009 04:52 AM #41
Rainmaker
1,849,772
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Evidence of the fire department's slush fund Wayne!

Nov 16, 2009 05:45 AM #42
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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