Murray-Dick-Fawcett House, 517 Prince Street, Alexandria, Independent City, VA
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Significance: The Fawcett House was constructed in three, separate building campaigns dating to 1772, 1784, and 1797 as confirmed by dendrochronological and historical analysis. It was added onto twice more, by 1807 and again by 1823.
By agreement presented in court in 1774, John Alexander conveyed a half-lot to Patrick Murray who was to improve the parcel by building a house. Murray had already done so in 1772, erected a dwelling that was a 1 1/2 story structure with a footprint of 31' x 19' and arranged around a hall-chamber plan. It was a wood structure, resting on a brick foundation, sheathed in flush beaded siding originally painted a reddish brown. The roof was covered with round-butt shingles. There was a chimney at the west end. The half-story above was reached by an enclosed winder stair. The hall was embellished with cabinetry, but both first floor rooms exhibited pedestal surbases (chair rails), molded architraves, and raised paneling on the doors. Murray enlarged the house in 1785 with a wood-framed shed addition, making four rooms on the first floor with a passage and converting the winder stair into a single run stair to the upper floor. The west room of the addition was also heated. Murray offered the house for sale in 1792; it was bought three years later by John Thomas Ricketts and William Newton. The latter lived in the house and replaced Murray's kitchen with a brick ell (44 'x 16') for service rooms. The ell was one-story, gable- roofed, and made of brick laid in 3:1 common bond. William Brown bought the house in 1816, where he had been living for several years, and removed the entrance porch and sealed the bulkhead entrance to the cellar from Prince Street. The new entry was through a doorway in the east gable end that had been added in 1784.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-88, FN-91
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-93, FN-94,N1004
Survey number: HABS VA-104
Building/structure dates: 1772 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1784 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1797 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: ca. 1807 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: ca. 1823 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 66000928