My jaw dropped when I started reading. This was not what I had in mind when I was looking for some cool old stories or trivia around the house.
I had just come back from a listing appointment with smart and pleasant sellers. The “subject” was an old house, and--as always—it tickled my curiosity. DC is an old town with lots of history, and many of the homes have seen fascinating events and/or have had fascinating owners. As buyers and sellers alike love to learn about the history of their houses, I often go through a variety of sources—picture archives, newspaper databases, building permits, public records—to see what I can dig up. Sometimes I use historic facts or pictures for marketing materials.
This time, it started quite interesting as well. A well known local doctor who integrated principles of homeopathy in his practice even in the first half of the 20th century had his home and offices in the house for several decades. The practice rooms on the lower level later became a separate apartment—a typical Washington arrangement.
But then, in the summer of 1974, the house was featured in the Washington Post—not in the real estate section but rather in the news. The basement tenant at the time, a 22-year-old government employee who had recently moved to the capital from Florida, was found in his bed one Sunday evening, stabbed to death. The Medical Examiner was quoted with a gruesome description.
Of course, this is not one for the marketing materials. (Actually, I believe even if it was a recent murder, it could be a violation of your duties toward the seller to disclose it to buyers.) Neither is this information in any way material to the sale of the house. But I’m fascinated nevertheless and can’t quite shake it. It’s been with me for a few days now.
I don’t think the sellers would like to know. Then again, it’s just a piece of history. Or they might not care, anyway.
(P.S.: The picture has little to do with the home mentioned in this blog. I took it in the creepy basement of another house--in the suburbs--a couple of years ago.)
© 2012, Catarina Bannier