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Georgetown’s Crawford-Cassin house lists for $13 million


According to the HAB survey, which was completed in the mid-20th century, “this Federal brick mansion presents a very ordered facade to [the] street, which gives little hint of the various renovations and alterations the building has suffered. Situated well back from and above the street, the house appears somewhat aloof from its younger neighbors.”

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Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region

Crawford-Cassin house | The Crawford-Cassin house in Georgetown was rebuilt in 1859 after a fire destroyed the original house in 1857. It is listed at $13 million. (Xavier Aristu/Townsend Visuals)

Very little is known about Sarah Crawford, the first-known occupant of the house. She lived in it from 1819 to 1830.

Stephen Cassin was the second-known occupant. Cassin was a distinguished naval officer who received a Gold Medal from Congress for bravery in action at the battle of Lake Champlain in 1814, during the War of 1812. He was also known for capturing five pirate ships in the West Indies and, later, for his command of the Washington Navy Yard. Cassin and his wife, Margaret, raised 13 children in the home. He died in 1857, the same year the house burned down.

The house was rebuilt in 1859. In 1893, Beverley Randolph Mason turned the house into a school for girls called the Gunston Institute. Mason was a great grandson of George Mason. He named the school after Gunston Hall, the founding father’s Virginia mansion on the Potomac River.

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After Mason moved his school to another part of D.C., the Georgetown house became home to the St. Agnes School for girls from 1911 to 1918 and the Epiphany School from 1919 to 1935.

Ray Atherton bought the house in 1943 and turned it back into a residence. That same year, Atherton became the first U.S. ambassador to Canada after that country was the first of the British dominions to establish relations on the highest diplomatic level with another country. He also served in a number of posts in Asia and Europe. During his time abroad, Atherton rented the house.

George and Margaret Strawbridge leased it in 1945. George was a stockbroker and steeplechase rider. Margaret was the daughter of John Dorrance, owner of the Campbell Soup Co. While the Strawbridges lived there, the house was on the Georgetown house tour.

Benjamin Kittredge Jr. rented the house in 1947 when he worked in the State Department, specializing in Western European Affairs. His father owned Cypress Gardens, the 250-acre water garden in Charleston, S.C. Kittredge Jr. gave the gardens to the city in 1964.

Lorraine Rowan Shevlin rented the house in 1948. She was the stepdaughter of Domenico Napoleone Orsini, a scion of an Italian noble family. In 1955, Shevlin married John Cooper, whose career in government included terms in the Senate and ambassadorial appointments. The Washington Post obituary described her as “a personality of intelligence and warmth who graced the Washington political and social scene with notable style and wit.”

The Athertons returned to the house in 1955. After he died in 1960, his widow remained in the home until 1991 when John K. Figge bought it. Figge hired architect Pamela Heyne Widell and Oprah’s favorite designer Anthony P. Browne to renovate the house. Architectural Digest featured the transformation in 1993.

Richard W. Fisher bought the house in 1998. Fisher was deputy U.S. trade representative, with the rank of ambassador, from 1997 to 2001. He oversaw the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and agreements with Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Chile and Singapore. He later served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 2005 to 2015.

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Fisher sold the house to the current owner in 2007.

The gated front entry, mature trees and landscaping seclude the house, the only free-standing dwelling on the block. A two-story porch overlooks the side yard. The garden was featured in the 2015 book “Gardens of Georgetown” by the Georgetown Garden Club. The house has a front entrance and side entrances off the porch. The front entrance leads into the living room. The side entrances have Jefferson-style triple-hung windows that open to the family room.

The owner’s suite takes up most of the second level. The bedroom has a fireplace and access to the second-floor porch. A large dressing room with built-in shelving and a bathroom with dual vanities, a frameless glass shower and a separate soaking tub adjoin the bedroom. The bathroom also has access to the porch. An exercise room, sauna and another bedroom are on this floor, too.

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The top level has four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. The lower level has a media room and a wine cellar. The gated private driveway, off P Street, leads to a two-car garage.

Despite the house’s historic status, no owner has filed for a historic easement.

The six-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 7,836-square foot house on 0.27 acre is listed at $13 million.

3017 O St. NW, Washington, D.C.

Approximate square-footage: 7,800

Features: The Crawford-Cassin house was rebuilt in 1859 after a fire destroyed the original house in 1857. The house was converted into a school for girls in 1893. Two more schools called it home before it was turned back into a residence in 1943. Architectural Digest featured the house after it was renovated by architect Pamela Heyne Widell and designer Anthony P. Browne. The property has a gated driveway that leads to a two-car garage.

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