View Photo Gallery: The Washington Post’s picks of distinguished homes on the D.C. area market.

Few homes built more than 200 years ago have never been on the market, but this week’s featured house is one of those exceptions.

The Bell House, a stately Federal-style home in Winchester, Va., was built by John Bell II in 1809. Since then, the house has been passed down through five generations.

Thomas S. Bell, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, grew up there and returned to the home after his parents, Stewart Bell Jr., the former mayor of Winchester, and his wife, the former Rosalie Nelson, died. Tom Bell and his wife, Kathy, are the last of a long line of Bells to call it home. They reluctantly have decided to sell because the house has become too big for the two of them.

“There comes a time when you just have to let go,” Tom Bell said.

John Bell — who kept meticulous records of the costs associated with building the eight-bedroom house, including $4.50 for shingles and $17 for a stove — spent $4,272.50 on the three-story brick home’s construction.

The home features a Greek Revival front porch and a gabled metal roof. The small, enclosed rear porch has glass windows on three sides. The family rooms, kitchen, dining room and foyer are on the first floor, with the bedrooms and two full baths occupying the upper two floors.

The house has three fireplaces, extensive crown molding, and a chair rail and chandeliers. A cottage, which once was the home’s kitchen but now serves as a constituent office of Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), a detached two-car brick garage and a landscaped garden with brick walkways are also on the property.

During past Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festivals, the home had played host to luminaries such as Ed Sullivan, Mary Tyler Moore and Margaret Mead.

The house is on the market for $924,500. The Bells chose not to use a real estate agent and are selling the property themselves. Go to for more information.

“We want somebody,” Tom Bell said, “who is going to take good care of it.”

Listing: 106 N. Cameron St., Winchester

Last week’s House of the Week

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