In the heart of Old Town Alexandria sits the George Washington town house. The house is a reproduction of the original town house, and sits on the original site. GW used the house, primarily before the Revolution, as an office and to spend the night when he was in Alexandria for business or social reasons (for more historical information, see below or search George Washington townhouse Alexandria).
It is conveniently located in Old Town. It is a one block walk to King St and a short walk to the waterfront and all the shops (including Trader Joe’s and a CVS), restaurants, museums, public library, farmer’s market and City Hall. It is also walking distance to the King St. metro (there are also shuttles running to the metro along King St.)
The town house is three levels (about 600 sq. ft. per level) with the 2 bedrooms on the top level, the living room and dining room (one large room) on the second (main) level, and the kitchen and family room with queen sleep sofa on the English basement level. There are two bathrooms, one with a bath and shower on the top level, and one with a shower only on the English basement level. The house features a large rear courtyard. At the rear of the lot is a large storage shed where the stable was. There are two parking spaces on the far side of the storage shed and off of “Washington Way” where GW would approach the property by horse.
When Alexandria was founded in 1749, the town ran up (west) from the river only as far as Royal Street. However, the town was doing so well by 1763 that several more blocks were added then. GW purchased this quarter-block lot (Lot 118) on May 9, 1763, for ten pounds, ten shillings. From 1769 to 1771, he had a plain dwelling, a stable, and other necessary buildings constructed here as sort of a town annex to Mount Vernon. The town house was the only house built by Washington for his own use. Prior to the Revolutionary War, he used it often when he was in Alexandria. During the war and his Presidency, the place was often rented or lent to friends and members of the family. Dr. William Brown rented the house for about ten years; Martha Washington’s favorite niece, Fanny Bassett Washington, lived here with her two boys for a little over a year in 1794-95; and Colonel Philip Marsteller, close friend of GW since Revolution, former Mayor of Alexandria and one of Washington’s pall bearers, lived here in 1797. A number of Washington’s letters refer to spending the night “at my own house.” Other letters order fencing for the property and give detailed directions for such things as repairing the fireplaces, laying a brick floor in the basement, papering the bedroom wall, and painting the exterior.
It is the first piece of property listed in Washington’s will, and it was the only piece of property that he left outright to his wife Martha when he died. At her death, Mrs. Washington left the property to her nephew, Bartholomew Dandridge. Unfortunately, the dwelling which had significantly deteriorated, was demolished in 1855. In 1960, Gov. and Mrs. Richard Lowe had the house reconstructed based on existing accounts - particularly a drawing done by a neighbor about the time of the demolition (copy at the house).
During the 1990s, the GW town house was rented to Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac while he operated "Fleetwood's" a blues club and restaurant in north Old Town.
(Adapted from Walking with Washington)