Listing for Robert E. Lee’s Virginia home omits his name

Mansion is on the market for $5M, but its description leaves out controversial figure

National Weekend Edition /
Oct.October 31, 2021 11:04 AM

The Alexandria mansion where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee lived as a child. (Realtor.com)

 

The childhood home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is on the market, but you wouldn’t know it if you read the real estate listing.

Washingtonian Magazine first reported this week that advertising for the sale of the mansion in Old Town Alexandria — with an asking price of just under $6 million —  includes plenty of facts about the number of bedrooms (6) bathrooms (4.5), along with its square-footage (8,000), but fails to mention the name of its most famous former inhabitant.

Known as the Potts-Fitzhugh House for its first two owners — one an old friend of George Washington and the other a wealthy tobacco farmer and racehorse breeder — the home is most famous for being the place where young Robert played with toy guns and sabers and had conversations with visitors such as Marquis de Lafayette between 1810 and 1825 when he headed off to West Point.

But the posting fails to mention its most well-known former resident — and even appears to have digitally removed a historical marker touting the manse as Lee’s boyhood home from a photo showing its main entrance, according to the Washington Post.

The reason for the omission seems obvious: During the past six years as Lee’s stature as a hero has been diminished, statues of the general have been removed from cities such as New Orleans, Richmond and, most famously, Charlottesville, where a 2017 rally to have that effigy taken down led to the murder of a protester by a neo-Nazi.

The home was last on the market in 2018, and the listing back then included the historical marker, according to the Post. Back then, it was listed for $8.5 million and eventually sold in July 2020 for $4.7 million. 

Listed in the National Register of Historic Place, the Federal and Georgian style home was once used as a museum run by the Lee-Jackson Foundation, which sold it in 2000 to a private owner when it couldn’t afford the upkeep on the home, according to the New York Times.

[Washingtonian Magazine] — Vince DiMiceli





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