Goodreads, an online reading community, describes the book as a “magnificent story of the mystery hidden within a fabulous big old Victorian farmhouse, and the adventures of the three children who work to solve it and to save the house from being sold. . . . They find a hidden room and a secret stairway. One of those truly memorable childhood reads.”
Alas, the secret stairway is no more. But much of what makes the home special remains.
Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region
Broadview, also known as the Old Lacey House and Storybook House, was built in 1881 for Robert Stinson Lacey, a decorated major in the Union Army during the Civil War and later a well-regarded patent attorney. In his obituary, he was described as an “intimate acquaintance of President McKinley.”
The home evolved from a simple I-house over the years. A rear gable addition was added in 1886. The front gable, tower and a two-story shed roof addition came along in 1898. A two-story flat roof addition was constructed between 1900 and 1934. A gabled-roof tower addition was erected in 1990.
Broadview remained with Lacey’s descendants until 1977, when John and Candy Gerstein bought it. By that point, it had been turned into a rooming house and was badly in need of repair.
In a history of the home, Candy Gerstein wrote about the state of the house when she and her husband became owners: “There was no kitchen (the roomers used a hot-plate), no working furnace, inadequate wiring, crumbling plaster and large amounts of filth.”
The Gersteins renovated Broadview with help from friends, contractors and, as Candy described him, “a highly devoted and slightly alcoholic $3.00-per-hour plasterer and semi-handyman.”
“The house never was and never will be stately,” she wrote. “It is, instead, a whimsical house. . . . We have tried to maintain its whimsical or storybook qualities.”
The current owners bought Broadview from the Gersteins in 2011. Granted a historical designation in 2014, the house was deemed “one of Arlington County’s best examples of Queen Anne-style architecture from the late-nineteenth century.” It is one of only four Queen Anne-style dwellings with a tower in the county.
The five-bedroom, three-bathroom, 4,145-square-foot house is listed at $1.289 million.
Listing: 5151 14th St. N, Arlington, Va.
Listing agents: Daan De Raedt, Maura De Raedt and Erin Johnson, RE/MAX Allegiance
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