So What’s the Deal With These Historical Houses?

IMG_6217, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

How come I’ve only seen them in the U Street area? Are there no historical houses in Columbia Heights and Petworth? I mean Lincoln loved Petworth right, that’s historic?

3 Comment

  • Close-in capitol hill SE, you’ll also find those medallion things… I think Rob Goodspeed’s very awesome blog covered the specifics on that historic designation a while back ( — Can’t remember what-all was involved, but I think zones that have those are protected from horrendous modern-style condo architecture & other such contrasty stuff.

  • I think that’s the L’Enfant Trust. I went to a meeting with them once when I lived in Mt. Pleasant. You basically donate the rights to the facade of your house to the trust, which means you can only do certain things and have a lot of restrictions about any work on the house. It basically gives you a huge one-time tax deduction. The downside is that this can become a liability when you sell your house, it’s irrevocable. If I recall not all areas qualify, the house or neighborhood has to have some historical designation to qualify.

  • This got a lot of coverage in the Post a while back. Homeowners were donating their exterior facades to preservation organizations to insure that the exterior could not be changed. However, in some cases these owners already lived in neighborhoods covered by DC historic preservation law. As a result, easement donors were agreeing not to change something that they cannot change anyway and getting a tax writeoff for it.

    Her’es the link to the article.

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