Spite House that Probably is not Really a Spite House is For Sale, Again

The house at 1239 30th St. is for sale again. That’s not a particularly notable fact, except for the fact that it is one of Georgetown’s narrowest houses. And it only just sold in 2015.

The home is actually quite lovely, and even has an elevator in it.










Although the highlight might be the charming hut in the garden:

As you can see, it’s quite narrow. Apparently it’s just a shade under 11 feet wide. Which brings up the question: is it a “spite house”? Spite houses are houses built on tiny slivers of land that are built to “spite” someone, typically a neighbor. The idea is that the new home blocks access to an alley, or light and air.

And this home certainly qualifies physically as a home that was built on a tiny sliver of land between two larger homes and that blocked access to the rear. But according to a Washington Post article on spite houses from 2006, this particular house was not built out of spite:

A 1933 article in The Washington Post said it was “built for the express purpose of shutting out light and air from [its] neighbor’s windows.” But a letter to the editor a month later, from a man who had lived on 30th Street, insisted that 1239 was built “by a widow, not as a spite house, but as an assistance to support her fatherless children.”

That sounds conclusive.

As GM mentioned, this home was only just bought in 2015, for $1.135 million. The new listing is asking $1.295 million. That would be a cool 14% increase over just two years (and it doesn’t look like any significant renovations were done). Seven percent a year seems a bit ambitious, but maybe that’s what the market’s doing these days!


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