The least remarkable person connected with the house might be the one who built it. Little is known about August Bussard. He bought the land and constructed the house between 1924 and 1925. It is unclear if he ever lived in the home.
Sen. Porter H. Dale bought it in 1929. The Vermont Republican had sold his previous residence, the Sewall-Belmont House, to the National Woman’s Party. In a July 22, 1929, story in The Post, Dale’s new home is described as “quite castle-like in its appearance.”
Dale died unexpectedly four years later. His heirs held on to the home, apparently renting it out. William Oscar Spears, who retired as a rear admiral, stayed in the home, as did Post columnist Harlan Miller.
The next owner, Raphael G. Urciolo, held two doctorates in philosophy, one from the University of Rome and another from Catholic University, and a law degree from National University (later George Washington University). He spoke nine languages and taught French at the University of the District of Columbia. He also sold real estate. It was this activity that led him to become a petitioner in a Supreme Court case involving racially restrictive covenants on real estate in the District.
In 1936, as president of Urciolo Realty, Urciolo sold parcels on Bryant Street NW to three African Americans. The land was covered by a 1906 covenant preventing the sale to “any Negro or colored person.” Urciolo appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, the court sided with Urciolo, declaring such covenants unconstitutional.
Over the next few years, the house switched owners several times. Korean Commissioner Won Soon Lee bought the house in 1944. His daughter was married in the home, and the wedding was covered by The Post.
The following year, Maurice Stearman, who founded Ace Wrecking (which became ACECO) and later started a real estate investment company, bought it.
Domenico Del Vecchio bought it in 1946. The founder of People’s Hardware remained in the home until the mid-1950s.
Victor Guidice rented the home before buying it in 1959. According to his son, Van, Victor Guidice helped start the TV station WTTG and later served as deputy director of the U.S. Information Agency.
In 1968, the New York Times reported that civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael and his wife, Miriam Makeba, were negotiating to buy the home. Carmichael, who coined the term “black power,” denied any interest in a subsequent story in The Post.
“We weren’t all that interested. My wife just likes to look at houses,” he told Sarah Booth with a big laugh.
The nearly 6,000-square-foot stone house, which needs work but retains many of its original features, is listed at $1.399 million.
Listing agent: Delia McCormick, Washington Fine Properties
Previous House of the Week