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Historic Homes Tour Shows the Best & Brightest in Old Town

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[All photos by R. Lopez]

This past Saturday, Old Town residents opened their homes to the 72nd annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour, hosted by The Twig, a junior auxiliary of Inova Hospital. In fact, all proceeds from the tour went to the hospital.

The tour featured nine properties, each one telling a different story.

The largest property featured on the tour was the nearly 100-year old Old Town Theatre, built in 1914. The theatre recently underwent a major renovation, uncovering several hidden gems in the process.

During renovations, owners found that the second floor, which is currently a seating area, used to be a dance studio. The owners decided to keep the original windows, hardware and floors and turn it into a reception area.

"We wanted a venue for our preview party, and they let us do it there," says Anita Carson, co-chair of the homes tour. "We wanted to include them in the tour so that locals could experience the renovations," she says.

The Twig features different properties every year, and the selection process is done through word of mouth, said Vicky Suazo, co-chair of the homes tour.

The Prince Street home of Catherine Collins and David Franz featured tons of international treasures gleaned from the couple's time spent as international reporters, including rare turkish rugs and a dining room table that once belonged to the Ottoman governor of Egypt. The home, built sometime between 1798 and 1818, was originally owned by Captain James McGuire, a businessman and police superintendent.

Another standout was the Cameron Street home of artist Lisa S. Brock and her husband Craig S. Miller. Originally two homes, the properties were converted into one in 1828 and stayed in the same family for over 140 years. Although many of the original amenities remain, the owners added a personal touch by implementing artwork created by Mrs. Miller throughout the home.

The tour also featured the Historic Christ Church, frequented by George Washington himself, again showing that not all the showcased homes actually fell under the "house" designation.

Danielle Cralle