Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Argyle House

This house since a large fire in 1984 has been spooked by a human face that often appears looking down from the top story window. It was most frequently seen by contractors who worked until after dark during the renovation that took place in the mid-80's.
Perhaps this is why.
Also known as the mouse house, located in the heart of Washington's Embassy Row, is an integral part of the historic Argyle House, a Beaux-Arts mansion designed by associate architect of the Library of Congress Paul Pelz and built in 1900 for a wealthy, retired Navy captain named Frederick A. Miller. Following a devastating fire in 1984, only a portion of the walls remained; the entire structure was reconstructed with designs by the architect Richard Ridley to replicate the building's original grandeur. Olga's Mouse House was not named for its mouse-like scale, but because it sat in the shadow of a stone cat statue perched on the second-story ledge of the Argyle House.
Before the fire the building had been used as a rooming house for many years. At the time of the fire there was one hold out, an indian gentleman living on the top floor where those windows are. There were lots of rumors about why the fire happened. Some said it was by the hold out who didn't want to give in to the new owner. Others said it was set by the new owner in order to force out the tennant. At any rate, the fellow died. Since then many have seen the face gazing down on them even at times when the house has been vacant. Often the police were called because people thought that someone had broken in and was squatting. No one was ever found in the house, but if any of you live in the neighborhood, you might always glance upward as you're walking past to see if someone is staring back at you.

1 comment:

  1. I recently moved into this building. It burnt in 1984 as the above entry tells it, but the Indian embassy employee who rented the top floor did not die. Indeed I met him recently by pure coincidence. He still lives in the neighborhood.