House History–the hidden stories behind the walls of the homes we sell or walk by every day–has long been a passion of the House Smarts. ours. (In fact, for Cati, a former journalist, it was what ultimately brought her to the world of DC real estate.)
We have written about many house-stories in our individual blogs over the years, and we sometimes have surprised (and delighted!) clients with our research findings. When the time allows, we love digging in archives, city records and historic collections. What we find, is sometimes funny, sad or scary, but it’s always a part of the DC area’s story as well. And when it comes to history of any kind, there could not be a better place for that than the metropolitan area of the Nation’s Capital! (To give you a taste, we will assemble a collection with links at the bottom of this page in the next couple of weeks.)
If you have followed us for even a short while, you probably know that one of our special interests are the mail-order homes of the early 20th century. In many Washington, DC, neighborhoods and in the city’s older suburbs, we can find an abundance of those historic kit houses. (More often than not, the owners have no idea that some 90 or 100 years ago, their house arrived neatly packaged on a railroad car, in thousands of numbered pieces.) You can learn more about catalog homes here.