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Antebellum Allure

Stahl put Moss Neck under a conservation easement soon after buying it. The agreement, which covers him and all future owners, allows for only three divisions of the grounds, and only under specific conditions.

Under the terms of the easement, the house cannot be torn down or its historic facade altered; inside, room sizes cannot be changed. The bathrooms and kitchen can be remodeled, although their sizes have to stay the same. The home has five bedrooms, 2.5 baths and almost no closets. Armoires were common instead of closets during that period.


Moss Neck manor in Caroline County, VA, a plantation from 1853 that Stonewall Jackson used as a headquarters during the Civil War. (Hyosub Shin - For The Washington Post)

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Any changes to the house or the grounds must be approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Stahl said he bought the house because he just had to have it.

"It was too great of a thing not to buy, too good to just leave there," he said. "It's boring to be a lawyer. I need to have some creative outlet. I love old houses and I love old architecture."

He is selling Moss Neck, he said, because he is not in the country enough to enjoy it. He said he will be "sorry to see it go."

Another antebellum home that is on the market is Springland Farm in the District's Cleveland Park neighborhood.

Springland Farm, built in 1843, is the only surviving, privately owned 19th century country-like estate in the District, according to Washington Fine Properties/Sotheby's, the brokerage that is marketing the property.

Ryan Shepard, collections librarian for the Historical Society of Washington, said it is possible that Springland is the only such surviving estate in the District that was once associated with an agricultural establishment.

Springland Farm, originally a 50-acre estate, was part of a plant nursery in the 19th century. It was built by the daughter and son-in-law of Maj. Gen. John Adlum, a noted figure in early American viticulture, or the cultivation of grapes. It remained in the Adlum family until 1976.

Springland, which now sits on an acre of land in a cul-de-sac with other houses, is on the market for $3.85 million. The red-brick house is on the National Register of Historic Places and the District's inventory of historic sites.

The 5,500-square-foot home's Southern-style veranda is on the back of the house rather than the front because the back was originally the front, said owner Bardyl Tirana, a Washington lawyer.

Springland also cannot be altered without permission. The home is not wholly antebellum: An addition was built in the 1890s.

Tirana said that what he likes about living in a historic house is "the patina of old."


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