- - Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One of the delights of Old Town Alexandria — beyond the enticing restaurants, the joys of the artwork in the Torpedo Factory and the eclectic mix of shops — is the history to be found on every street corner. Not only can fascinating stories be heard about Gadsby’s Tavern and Christ Church, but plenty of tales can be told about the residents of some of Old Town’s oldest homes.

The home at 414 Franklin St., on the market for $4,200,000, was built between 1760 and 1780 and expanded in the 19th century and again in 2000. Known as Spring Gardens, the property started as a tavern and oyster house popular with George Washington. Historical references say the first president spent his last Fourth of July at Spring Gardens in 1798, dining with friends and watching military companies performing a drill.

In 1818, the tavern was purchased by William Yates, who also purchased other neighborhood lots. The tavern was renamed Yates Tavern, and the community is sometimes still called Yates Gardens.

In addition to its lively history, Spring Gardens offers an unusually large and secluded garden for an Old Town property. Designed by Wolfgang Oehme and James Van Sweden, the half-acre garden’s focal point is a deep-midnight-blue swimming pool that reflects a gazebo, a wisteria arbor, ornamental grasses and mature trees.

Curved flagstone paths wind through the garden, and brick walls surround the grounds, which also have a small pond and waterfall along with a children’s play area. The property also includes a two-car garage and a carriage house with complete living quarters.

The interior reflects a blend of historic details, including authentic period paint colors and modern amenities. The original 8-inch-wide plank floors can be found in the entrance hall, and the home has five fireplaces, period hardware and elegant formal rooms.

The main level includes a formal dining room and a formal living room, each with French doors that open onto the garden. The swimming pool was positioned carefully to align with the living room’s French doors for symmetry and soothing water views. In addition, this level has a library and a powder room.

The custom-designed kitchen, also on the main level, includes a beamed ceiling, an exposed-brick wall, honey pine cabinets, Corian counters and upgraded appliances. A sunny 25-by-20-foot family room with walls of windows is adjacent to the kitchen.

A two-story addition to the home is near the kitchen and includes a game room on the first floor with guest quarters above. An unusual enclosed bridge links the carriage house to the main house.

The upper level includes four bedrooms, including one in the addition above the game room. The master suite on the upper level overlooks the garden and includes a working fireplace as well as a private full bath. There are two additional full baths upstairs, along with a fourth full bath on the main level in addition to the powder room.

The lower level has an expansive recreation room as well as an additional room that can be used for exercise or a home office.

For more information or directions to the this Old Town property, contact Realtor Roy Melloni with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty at 703/863-0077 or visit www.roymelloni.com.

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