Sorry this blog is later in the day than usual, but at least I come bearing pictures! I have been in the Washington, D.C., area for almost a week, visiting my wonderful critique partner and helping some old friends with a writing assignment. Of course, along the way, I had to sneak in some history.
In my neck of the woods, finding anything that dates before the 1850s can be challenging. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed wandering around Georgetown. Founded in 1751 and incorporated in 1789, Georgetown was joined to Washington, D.C., through a succession of Acts of Congress. Many of the homes in the area date from the nineteenth century, and a few go back to pre-Revolutionary War time. Here are some examples of early houses, or reproductions, we saw on our walk.
Which is your favorite? I must admit to finding the tall, skinny houses utterly charming, but oh, those stairs!
One example of a Federal era house (roughly the same time as the Regency period in which I usually write), is Dumbarton House. My delightful critique partner and I were fortunate to tour it with a very knowledgeable guide. Built in 1799 and sold to the Nourse family in 1804, the property achieved some measure of fame when First Lady Dolley Madison, fleeing the British during the War of 1812, stopped to rest in the house.
Alas, no flash photography is allowed so as to protect the materials, and my digital camera is new enough that I wasn’t confident I could turn off the flash, so I have only an exterior shot. But you can find more information on the house at its website.
In touring the house and later Carlyle House in Alexandria, I discovered a couple things that require additional research (lovely, lovely research!). One was that the entry halls were used to host dancing, something I have never heard mentioned in England. Another was the use of painted sailcloth as a floor covering, again, not something I have ever encountered in a British house. I will look into both and report more soon.
Anyone out there visited Dumbarton House? Or know more about entry hall dancing or painted sailcloth coverings?