Did you know that Sylvester Stallone once called Silver Spring home? Or that Walt Whitman lived in three different places in the District? Or that John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas resided in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood?
They are just a few of the famous people’s residences Urban Turf has tracked down for its new Web site, Bigwig Digs.
Since 2008, the real estate blog has been chronicling some of the city’s best and most interesting homes for sale. Along the way, the staff realized they had accumulated quite a few listings of places where a celebrity or someone notable had lived.
“We said to ourselves we should compile these into a list,” said Will Smith, Urban Turf publisher and co-founder.
They started with about 10 to 20 but eventually the list grew to nearly 150. They launched the site earlier this week with about 80.
“We didn’t want to publish all of them at once, and then that would be that,” said Smith who added they plan to roll out a couple each month.
The site is broken down into categories: presidents; politicos and power; showbiz and Hollywood; musicians; journalists and media; scandal and intrigue; writers, poets, thinkers; activists and humanitarians; African American; women; first ladies; moguls and money; sports; and miscellaneous.
Because Urban Turf didn’t have the resources to check property records, they sourced each entry with where they found the information. Most records come with a property address. But if the person still lives in the home or still owns it, Urban Turf withheld the address.
For example, John Phillips’s former home is listed as 3 E. Oxford Ave., Alexandria, but Bill Clinton’s home is pictured but the address is suppressed.
“We went back and forth a lot about how we wanted to handle that,” Smith said. “We do have those addresses. We just keep them close to the vest.”
Smith said in doing this project he was most surprised by how simple and unassuming some of the homes were.
“When you see where these bigwigs lived, you’re just reminded that they are all normal people,” Smith said. “You see Sylvester Stallone’s very modest house on Seminary Road in Silver Spring. It makes fame and fortune actually seem a lot more accessible.”