Charming home of the week: the one First Lady Jackie Kennedy saved

Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 MD594797

On Christmas Day we ventured into the city to see the national Christmas tree. While the crowds were squeezing in to get a good shot in front of the White House, this REALTOR® was much more interested in the block of historic mid-19th century rowhomes on Jackson Place, right across the street. 

No. 708 is my favorite. The Trowbridge House was built as a residence for William P. Trowbridge, a mechanical engineer, military officer, and naturalist in 1859. Among its stand-out features are a stunning bracketed cornice, a slate mansard roof (in fact, an add-on 30 years later to go with the times), the gorgeous front door with its sandstone surround, and - just like its neighbors on the block - a characteristic three-bay design. No. 708 was used as a government office building for decades until it was combined with the Blair House, the presidential guesthouse, and now serves as a home away from home for visiting former presidents. 

The entire block is a stunner of four-story, red brick or sandstone, traditional rowhomes, rescued, in fact, by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy when it was slated for demolition in the early 1960s to make room for a modern federal office complex. It's impossible to imagine Lafayette Square without these historic gems... their richness and splendor are what infuse this area with much sophisticated charm.

One cannot claim the same about the J. Edgar Hoover building on Penn Ave that was constructed during the 1960s/70s. I wonder if Lafayette Square would be flanked by such a mid-century, concrete fortress had it not been for the First Lady? 

historic rowhomes Washington DC

*U.S. General Services Administration
*Wikipedia The Trowbridge House

♥ It's always been the vintage, the old house charm, and the original details that I adore the most, that draw me in, make my [REALTOR®] heart flutter, and prompt me to pause, to listen, and then to retell their stories. I specialize in finding and marketing charming homes that are unique and rich in character, history, or both. I believe in preservation, second chances, saving the pink bathrooms, and front porch living. In this series, I highlight charming homes that I am listing to find just the right buyer for or that I am admiring with my special clients; or that have simply caught my eye while exploring the [historic] communities of Maryland and [far] beyond. Adore charming homes as much as I do? Then I'd love it if you'd follow me on Instagram, @onceuponahaus is where I grow my curated collection. ♥

Posted by

Andrea Bedard
Thompson Co., REALTORS®

Silver Spring, Maryland

Fluent in Real Estate and German.
Old house lover.
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Comments (21)

faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

Fascinating to read about the history of this house and the care and upkeep of a national treasure. Thanks for the info!!!!

Jan 10, 2023 10:18 AM
Andrea Bedard

You are welcome, faye schubert, so glad you enjoyed my little post!   

Jan 10, 2023 01:39 PM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:

She was an amazing First Lady, so graceful. Great information.  Thanks for sharing and enjoy your week!

Jan 10, 2023 11:09 AM
Andrea Bedard

She certainly was Bill Salvatore - East Valley. Thanks for stopping by!

Jan 10, 2023 01:40 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

What a gorgeous house and so interesting to hear about the histoy and care of this treasure. She brought style, grace and care to her reign as First Lady.

Jan 10, 2023 12:17 PM
Andrea Bedard

A stunner, the house and the first lady, Dorie Dillard Austin TX! I love her style and I am so appreciative of her preservation efforts. I can't imagine a concrete monster in its place.  

Jan 10, 2023 01:41 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Andrea- when we lived in Northern VA, Larry and I went into the DC area on weekends. We loved the architectural detail of the many homes. I agree with you about the J. Edgar Hoover Building. 

Jan 11, 2023 11:44 AM
Andrea Bedard

The Hoover building is more like a concrete box, isn't it? 

Jan 13, 2023 10:57 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jan 14, 2023 06:40 PM
Andrea Bedard

Thank you Kathy Streib for including my post in your weekly special! 

Jan 15, 2023 07:02 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Andrea. Jackie was one of a kind way ahead of her time thank goodness. Enjoy your day.

Jan 15, 2023 04:29 AM
Andrea Bedard

Thank goodness, Wayne Martin! She sure was. 

Jan 15, 2023 07:03 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Andrea - I found that there's so much to discover in Washington DC.  It's unfortunate that this was unknown to me prior to reading your post.  

Jan 15, 2023 04:48 AM
Michael Jacobs

Andrea Bedard - you're so right.  And it happens in so many "places" we "see".  

Jan 15, 2023 07:10 AM
Andrea Bedard

I've lived in Maryland since 2005 and have only discovered a fraction of all there is to discover in DC, Michael Jacobs. Perhaps you'll make it back for another visit. It's always fascinating seeing the crowds squeeze in front of the White House fence, but nobody pays attention to the historic gems across the street.  

Jan 15, 2023 07:06 AM
Andrea Bedard

That is so true Michael. There's always so much to see and not enough time to see it all!

Jan 15, 2023 05:54 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Our present and future is build upon our past both good and not so good. The older homes had such richness and to destroy these architectural treasurers is to destroy our past and that is very sad. Thanks so much for the history lesson. Congratulations on the feature.

Jan 15, 2023 05:00 AM
Andrea Bedard

Thank you, Leanne Smith, I'm so glad, you appreciate my post and the value these historic gems add to the architectural landscape. It always saddens my heart when they have to make way for modern convenience, or are rehabbed with today's flavors, stripped of all their character. Those flips are the worst!  

Jan 15, 2023 07:09 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

What a gorgeous house Andrea!  And the history of it is fascinating.  I can't imagine a big ugly building replacing this beautiful home.  Thank goodness she saved it!

Jan 15, 2023 11:06 AM
Andrea Bedard

You can probably imagine, how much I would love to peek inside Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker! The entire block is beautiful and gives this area so much character.  

Jan 15, 2023 05:52 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Andrea Bedard  This is such a great story and a beautiful block. So happy Kathy Streib featured this post 

Jan 15, 2023 02:39 PM
Andrea Bedard

It's always an honor to be chosen for Kathy's weekly feature. Thank you for stopping by Hannah Williams

Jan 15, 2023 05:53 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I love the house on the corner of Lafayette square that Dolly Madison stayed in

Jan 15, 2023 08:21 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

I find it that on the East Coast there was more of a preservation of great homes, especially I found it in Boston.... when we came to Los Angeles it broke my heart to see all the teardowns..... now they are changing directions at least in the past 15 years, Endre

Jan 15, 2023 09:25 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

How interesting to read about the historical significance of this beautiful home and others on that street. Thank you for sharing!

Jan 16, 2023 04:24 AM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

What a charming structure & great history.  Thanks for sharing Andrea Bedard !

Jan 16, 2023 05:23 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

In this case, a women's touch kept the character of the neighborhood and preserved its history.

Jan 16, 2023 06:59 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Andrea,

I see why you are so passionate about this area.  There is a lot of history and charm.  It takes someone with vision like Jackie to get this right. 

Jan 16, 2023 07:25 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Thanks for the historical tour! Older treasures bring a lot of joy! All the best - Lynn

Jan 17, 2023 03:05 PM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

This is definitely a gem to behold.   The sight of beautiful architecture is chilling.

Jan 17, 2023 04:34 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Wow!  Thank you so much for this lesson in historic home history!  I really appreciate your bend on historic homes.   The greenest building is the existing building and saving these treasures are some of the finest architecture!   

Jan 17, 2023 05:35 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Andrea, what a beautiful building, and definitely states - CHARMING!  

Feb 04, 2023 07:20 AM