The world learned about a German Jewish girl named Anne Frank through her own candid words preserved in a personal diary that miraculously survived the Holocaust.
Sadly, Anne did not survive.
But her words have lived on for generations, as has the very house where she and her Jewish family hid for 2 years before being found by the Nazis.
The house is located on the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The front part of the building is now a memorial museum for Anne and the victims; and the back secret annex - where they hid - has been preserved as it was during World War II.
Opened as a public museum on May 3, 1960, the building and annex have been restored with period artifacts. Millions of people have now toured the site to pay tribute to Anne, her family and four other Jewish people who eventually perished in Nazi concentration camps after their hiding spot was betrayed.
The house and the twin house next door, were built by Dirk van Delft in the year 1635. The building was originally a private residence, then a warehouse, then a manufacturing company for household appliances, and in the 1930′s it was used as a production place for piano rolls. In December of 1940, Anne’s father Otto Frank moved the offices of the spice company he worked for into the building known as Prinsengracht 263.
Remember a while back when I profiled the oldest wood frame house in North America? Well this one is almost as old (within a year or two, or ten). It is also notable because it was the subject of some of the earliest attempts at historic preservation of colonial era homes. In fact, The John Whipple House has been open to the public as an old house museum since the year 1899!!
Located in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the John Whipple House has been dated back to the year 1650, and possibly as early as 1638, though that has not been scientifically verified. John Whipple “the Edler” was not the original owner but once he purchased the Ipswich house a few years after it was built, the home stayed in his family for generations.
The house also grew with the Whipple family. Originally built as a “village townhouse”, a large addition was made in 1670 which more than doubled the size of the house. The next generation of Whipples saw another sizeable addition to the back of the house, purportedly for use as slave quarters (this was circa 1725 when, yes, there was slavery in Massachusetts).
As mentioned above, the house was first opened for public tours way back in 1899 and has been operated as an old house museum ever since. It was also one of the earliest properties to receive National Historic Landmark status.
The site you see the house on today, was NOT the home’s original location. The entire house was picked up and moved in the year 1927 because it was in the path of a new railroad being built.
This is another reader requested beauty. Bren asked me if I could put together a post on the historic home where her mother was once a docent.
Thistle Hill is located on a prominent crest in Fort Worth, Texas. Bren spent a lot of time there as a youngster and has some stories to tell. Bren also generously let me use some of her personal photos of the house.
Thistle Hill is a magnificent brick Georgian Revival style house built between 1903-1904. The home was commissioned by wealthy cattle baron William Thomas (“Tom”) Waggoner as a wedding gift for his daughter Electra (Waggoner) Wharton. It was Electra who named the home “Thistle Hill”.
Interestingly, the house was originally built in a Colonial style but after it was sold in 1911, the new owner decided to renovate the not-even-a-decade-old house and added major Georgian Revival architectural elements.
Today Thistle Hill is used as a venue for weddings and special events. Their tag-line is:
“Experience the luxurious Cattle Baron lifestyle within the walls of Fort Worth’s first landmark”
The main house is 11,000 square feet and has 18 rooms. In the early 1900′s it cost around $45,000 to build. Though it has not been used as a private residence for decades, there have long been rumors of apparitions of the original occupants who supposedly still haunt the house.
The handsome structure is impeccably well-kept today, but that wasn’t always the case.
The Biltmore. You’ve all heard of the place. It is the largest privately owned house in the United States. But how many people have actually been inside of it?
Me neither…. but I know a couple of people who have!
So let’s have a look-see at this very famous and very large home near Asheville, North Carolina.
How large, you ask?
175,000 square feet
That’s hard to even fathom for us mere mortals, but 175,000 square feet is supposedly the size of 88 average-sized single family homes. [source]
The Biltmore Estate was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II at the height of the Gilded Age between the years 1889 and 1895. George was the youngest son of railroad magnate William Henry Vanderbilt. In fact, George was prompted to commission the Biltmore after his elder siblings each had grand summer homes made for them in New Port and Hyde Park.
So it is true that the largest house in America is the result of some serious sibling rivalry.
Have you ever wanted to see inside a house you lived in decades ago? Me too!
One of my readers recently contacted me with a listing for an old house she used to live in during the 1980′s.
“It looks beautiful now but they took out the red Chambers stove – travesty!”
Yes, blasphemous about the stove. But let’s have a peek inside this historic Colorado charmer…
The home is in a great location in the historic downtown area of Colorado Springs, and this is reflected in the $428,800 price tag. I know, I know.
But look how perfect it is!