The Smallest House in Alexandria, VA – and Maybe the United States

Spite House: Original Era

Spite House: Original Era

The smallest house in Alexandria, VA – located on Queen Street in Old Town  – is actually one of the smallest houses in the United States:  it is a mere 7 feet wide and 36 feet long.

It’s history goes some thing like this:

John Hollensbury, a brick maker, built the tiny house in the 1830s, for his daughters, Julia and Harriett. The “lot” on which it was built was actually a narrow alley between Hollensbury’s house and his neighbor’s.

Local lore has it that Hollensbury built the house because he wanted to keep his neighbor’s oversized carriage out of the alley, where it scraped the walls of Hollensbury’s house. Thus, the construction earned the nickname “Spitehouse.”  Unfortunately we don’t have any recorded information on how Julia and Harriett liked living in their very own doll house.

Spite House: Modern Day

Spite House: Modern Day

The house was last sold in 1990 for $125,000.  Owned by an individual who has his primary residence in North Arlington, he uses the Queen Street house as a weekend retreat.

The front door opens directly into the living room where there is a “normal” size sofa.  Beyond that is a steep narrow stairway to the second floor.   A cupboard beneath the stairs holds a small microwave oven.  On one wall in the kitchen is  a counter, a small sink, small four-burner gas range and under the counter Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer.

A wooden table is pushed against the other wall where three can dine comfortably. If it is pulled out and someone sits on a built-in bench at the end of the counter, four or more can use the table. At the rear is a door to the patio. Shelves and small built-in cabinets add storage space.

Upstairs, a bathroom with a claw-footed tub/shower is at the rear. Storage space lines a narrow hall beside the stairs, and a bedroom with a large single window overlooks the street. A full-size double bed is pushed sideways against a wall; it is made up as if the side against the wall is the head but you sleep the other way.

Now a 350 square foot house might not be your dream, but if you are interested in looking in other historic properties in Old Town Alexandria, give me a call at  703.927.4554 or e-mail me at

Michael Bergin
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s