The Washington Post
Best historic houses photo
(Kevin Clark)

Best historic houses

Erin Williams  |  Updated 07/08/2011

You know Mount Vernon; here are other homes that illuminate our past.


Beall-Dawson House

Rockville, MD

The Federal-style home of Upton Beall (pronounced "bell"), former circuit clerk of Rockville, was once visited by the Marquis de Lafayette. It retains much of its original architecture, including an indoor slave quarters, and is filled with 19th-century furnishings. A rotating exhibit on the upper level features items from the collection of the Montgomery County Historical Society. The tour begins next door, at the office of Rockville physician Edward Stonestreet, which was built in 1852. $5.


Belair Mansion

Bowie, MD

This home was finished around 1745 by Maryland provincial governor Samuel Ogle; owners have included William Woodward Sr., part of the only father-son duo of horse breeders to win the Triple Crown. The family raised several prominent Thoroughbred horses, an interest reflected in the decor in the upstairs of the house. Though surrounded by a subdivision, the Georgian plantation holds its original charm. Donations requested at the door.


Carlyle House Historic Park

Alexandria, VA

Built in 1753 by John Carlyle, a wealthy merchant who was one of the founders of Alexandria, this home in the heart of Old Town also functioned as the headquarters of Gen. George Braddock while the latter was planning the French and Indian War. The sandstone house, an example of Georgian Palladian architecture, reflects Carlyle's Scottish background and is filled with period furnishings, including a spinnet. $5.


Dumbarton House

Washington, DC

This Federal-era home, circa 1800, once belonged to first Register of the Treasury Joseph Nourse and is now the headquarters of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. You can guide yourself or follow a docent through the Georgetown mansion, which has a collection of Federal furnishings and art, and has been restored to reflect how it would have appeared when the Nourse family lived there, between 1804 and 1813. $5.


Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

Washington, DC

Famed abolitionist, orator and author Frederick Douglass lived in Anacostia's Cedar Hill, built around 1859, from the late 1870s until his death in 1895. The home, which boasts an impressive view of the city, contains belongings, books and portraits of family and friends that lend insight into Douglass's life. A set of pillow shams embroidered by his second wife, Helen, hint at ongoing competition between her and his deceased wife, Anna. $1.50 for reserved tickets.


Tudor Place Historic House and Garden

Washington, DC

Owned by Martha Custis, granddaughter of Martha Washington, this Georgetown home dates to 1816 and has a great view of Northern Virginia and the Potomac River. Docents will fill you in on the five generations of Custises who occupied the home until 1983. While there are several unique pieces in the Neoclassical house, pay attention to the bathroom in the beginning of the tour. $8.


Go Out Lists
A fun way to save and share your favorites

These are Post writers' picks, but what are yours? Make your own list to show others what you recommend. Here's how to get started.

What You've Recently Viewed On Going Out Guide

E-mail This List to a Friend

Best historic houses

(Enter the e-mail address of the recipient(s), separated by commas. Please limit to 10 recipients. )

chars typed

Save to Go Out List

You must be signed in to complete this action. Sign In or Register

Editors' Picks: Best historic...
What is this toolbar at the bottom of my screen?
It's a new way to save your ideas about places to go and shows to see in Washington, and it can help you find things to do with your friends.
See something interesting?
Click on the I want to go button to add it to your Want to go list. The number on the button shows how many people want to go. If you're signed in with a Facebook account, your friends can see where you'd like to go.
Already been there?
If you have been to a place or event already, click the I've been there button to add it to your Been there list. The number shows how many people have been there. If you're signed in with a Facebook account, your friends can see where you've been.
Where are my lists?
The things you add to your Want to go and Been there lists will be saved for you. Click on your username anytime to view your list and see all those ideas.
When you want to keep your plans private, turn off the sharing toggle. You'll be able to save items to your lists without sharing them on Facebook.
Why should I sign in with Facebook?
It can help you make plans with friends for things to do together. When you share your Want to go and Been there lists with your Facebook friends, it's easy to see when you and your friends want to go to the same place.
For a better experience, Please login with Facebook
What are the benefits of connecting with Facebook?
Sharing your ideas about places to go and things to see just got easier. Share your Want to go and Been there lists with Facebook friends and see where your friends want to go or where they've been and make plans together.
Ready to get started?
Log in to Facebook