Eastman served in the Union’s Army of the Potomac during the Civil War, rising to the rank of lieutenant. After the war, he worked for the federal government in the Office of the Paymaster General. He also worked with a group of East Falls Church residents to establish the First Congregational Church.
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When Eastman’s wife, Sarah, was 17 years old, she was in the audience at Ford’s Theatre the night President Abraham Lincoln was shot. According to her obituary, the program and ticket stub from that night were displayed in this home.
Eastman placed the front of the house toward the southeast because he wanted a good view of the sunrise. The built-in cabinetry was designed by one of his nephews.
After the Eastmans died, their son Frank Eastman lived in the house. Frank Eastman was president of the Arlington Rotary Club and was on the board of directors of Arlington-Fairfax Savings and Loan Association.
Charles R. Fenwick moved into the house in 1946 after he married Frank Eastman’s daughter, Eleanor. Fenwick was a World War I and World War II veteran who served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1940 to 1945 and in the Virginia Senate from 1948 to 1969.
Fenwick helped bring about the formation of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission, a precursor of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The bridge that carries Metro’s Yellow Line trains across the Potomac River is named in his honor. He was chairman of the Virginia Airports Authority.
The former University of Virginia football player and boxer served on the Virginia Athletic Commission for 35 years. Fenwick served as the University of Virginia‘s rector and helped to establish the U-Va. branch that in 1972 became George Mason University. George Mason’s library is named for him.
The house remained in the family until Eleanor Fenwick’s death in 1987. For several years after her death, it sat empty before a nephew, Bill Tate, sold it to a developer, S.G. Yeonas and Sons. (Tate’s wife, Sheila Patton Tate, was Nancy Reagan’s press secretary.)
Yeonas built 46 townhouses on the property, far fewer than planned, because Arlington County would not allow him to demolish the house. Eventually, he sold the house to H. McGuire “Mac” Riley and his wife, Michele-Anne, in 1996.
The Rileys undertook two massive renovations. In the first, around 2000 to 2001, they replaced the roof with a copper one and put a three-floor addition on the back of the house, extending the kitchen and creating an owner’s suite.
The second renovation, from 2009 to 2011, was also extensive. The Rileys replaced the wood flooring with older wood from an Alabama mill. They raised the railing on the stairs by replicating and lengthening the balusters. They added living space on the top floor and dug out the basement, creating a wine-storage area out of cedar and brick. They cleaned and repointed the stone, some of which Riley says was left over from the building of the Washington Monument. They replaced the plaster molding in the dining room with a custom design by Giannetti’s Studio in Brentwood, Md. They painted the house the same color that was used on the Lee-Fendall House in Alexandria.
“We try to be, and I think we have been, good stewards of the home,” Riley said.
When asked what has kept him and his family in the house all these years, Riley pointed to the house’s beauty, its ideal layout for entertaining, and its location near parks and trails. But most of all, they have appreciated their neighbors.
“It ended up surprising us by being a great neighborhood, where we got to know the neighbors,” he said. “There was much more of a community feel than we ever expected.”
The seven-bedroom, five-bathroom, 5,200-square-foot house is listed at just under $1.8 million.
Listing: 6733 Lee Hwy., Arlington, Va.
Listing agents: Marin Hagen and Sylvia Bergstrom, Coldwell Banker Realty.
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