For the first time in 50 years, this Victorian house on a prominent corner lot in Old Town Alexandria is on the market. The house was built circa 1852 by Mary Mandeville. She purchased the lot for $700 and constructed a 2½-story brick dwelling with a metal roof, according to Ethelyn Cox’s book “Historic Alexandria Virginia.” When she died, the house was sold at auction for $4,275 to John P. Agnew.
The Washington Post called Agnew “one of Alexandria’s most prominent citizens” at the time of his death in 1892. He owned a ship-building company and a coal company and served on the Alexandria City Council. According to Cox, Agnew probably added the mansard roof and Victorian embellishments to the house. It’s thought that some of the woodwork in the home came from the lumber he used to build ships.
In 1900, Agnew’s widow bequeathed the house to her unmarried daughters. They remained in the home until it was sold to D. Stafford Kelley and his wife, Elizabeth. Kelley, a civil engineer, worked in the office of the Architect of the Capitol and was the project director for the extension of the East Front of the Capitol, the Madison Library and the Rayburn House Office Building.
During Clifford and Margery Drake’s time in the home, the house was twice featured on the Alexandria Association’s “Old Homes Tour.” Drake was a highly decorated officer in the Marine Corps who served in World War II and the Vietnam War. He received a congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on the USS California during the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Bronze Star for his actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the Distinguished Service Medal for his actions during the Tet Offensive.
The Drakes sold the house in 1968 to the current owners, who have preserved many of its period details, including the pine floors and graceful newel post on the front stairs. The elegant home has spacious rooms and high ceilings. The living and dining rooms each have large bay windows and fireplaces.
Tall brick walls enclose the courtyard behind the house. The brick patio is surrounded by mature plantings and a towering magnolia tree. A two-story carriage house offers space for a studio or office.
The four-bedroom, four-bathroom, 4,056-square-foot house on an 0.07-acre lot is listed at $2 million.
Listing: 500 Duke St., Alexandria, Va.
Listing agent: Donnan C. Wintermute, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage