Ratcliffe-Allison House Fairfax Reviews
Ratcliffe-Allison House Oct 11, 2014
An interesting little house on Main Street in Fairfax City near the courthouse that is easy to miss. The original one-story house was built in 1812 by Richard Ratcliffe, a local landowner who had misplaced dreams of making the new town of Fairfax a rival to the wealthy seaport of Alexandria. An additional wing and second floor were added in 1824 and a third section was built in the 1920s by the last private owners.
No one especially famous ever lived here nor did any historic events take place in the house. A Dr. Kate Walker Barrett bought it in the early 20th century, a champion for women's political rights who served in the American delegation at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Her daughter was the long running gardening columnist for the Washington Post who donated the house to the city in the early 1970s. That's about it for anyone noteworthy.
What makes the house unique is that it is an example of a typical 19th-century home that has managed to survive the wrecking ball of progress. The various rooms are furnished with period pieces, such as the Victorian-era second-floor bedroom. The kitchen is loaded with state of the art gadgets from the 1920s that impressed me more than anything else.
Free tours are given between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturdays from April through October. Just wander in and the volunteer docents will lead you around. There are dozens of restaurants in the surrounding area if you want to grab lunch after the freebie tour.
Part of the list Northern Virginia Day Trips
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