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5 Historic Homes That Tell A Story

By Alyssa Morrison |

The homes we live in tell a story, and the older the house, the more it has to say. Today we look at five extraordinary properties that outlasted wars, economic booms and downfalls, seen owners of fame on the world stage, and propriters of local notoriety. These homes have been lovingly cared for, with their storied elements protected and restored. From the relatively new history of the United States and a fortress in Europe, to a playwright’s estate in between, these historic homes still have a lot more life to live.

Skinner Mansion

Seattle, Washington | $4,950,000 | Represented by Laura Halliday, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty

This Georgian Revival home is a landmark Seattle residence. It belongs to an elite group of early 20th century grande dames situated on what has long been called “Millionaires Row” near Volunteer Park.

Originally built between 1903-1905, this home is best known as the Skinner Mansion, named for the prominent shipping magnate who lived in it from 1914 until the 1950s. The current owners painstakingly remodeled the home and surrounding estate between 2000-2006. The result is a home that retains its historical integrity while offering a warm, welcoming environment for 21st-century living. This renovation updated all systems and amenities and was completed with exceptional attention to detail.

Bermuda’s Bellevue

Paget, Bermuda | $9,950,000 | Represented by Buddy Rego, Rego Sotheby’s International Realty

Originally built in the 1800s, the appropriately named ‘Bellevue’ sits graciously on an estate measuring 5.5 acres and has been extensively renovated in recent years. During the period when the home was built, the island of Bermuda experienced a boom in naval and military growth, both as the Royal Navy started building a large dockyard and the British Army built up the Bermuda Garrison. Most notably,  the Bellevue estate was once home to the famous American playwright Eugene O’Neill, who produced a number of scripts during his time in Bermuda. The elegant five-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom home sits atop Bellevue Drive in Paget and features traditional Bermuda cedar verandahs extend to the north of the property on both floors and allow for soaring views across Hamilton Harbour.

16th Century Fortress

Qormi, Malta | 1.870.000 € | Represented by Svetlana Podgorska, Malta Sotheby’s International Realty

As Europe emerged from the middle ages, so did this fortress dating back to the 16th century, which includes a three-story watchtower, a mill room, and four internal courtyards. Built using limestone sourced in Malta, this home was built 400 to 500 years ago. Long enough ago, that we can’t be sure of the precise date. Its features include those typical of the “Houses of Character” in Malta, including double-thick walls (approximately four feet wide) and are mostly found in the old village cores, up winding alleys. The home’s spiral staircase, “garigor,” is specific to Maltese architecture, serving as a secondary staircase at the back of the house as well as offering access to plenty of niches, nooks, and crannies.

Greek Revival in Georgia

Savannah, Georgia | $6,000,000 | Represented by Helen Johnson and Taavo Roos, Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty

The architectural elegance of a previous era meets incomparable modern beauty and convenience in this 1848 Greek Revival home. It’s situated on one of the most coveted streets in the Landmark District, a neighborhood that roughly corresponds to the city limits of Savannah prior to the Civil War.

This home has been renovated to perfection while maintaining its original character and details. High ceilings, hand-carved plaster moldings, heart pine floors, an elevator, original fireplaces, and formal entertaining rooms make this residence a Savannah staple. Double-covered side porches, a gorgeous garden with a swimming pool and lounge, and a three-car garage also boasts a two-bedroom and bathroom carriage house above.

Gold Coast History

Chicago, Illinois | $1,050,000 | Represented by Pam Rueve, Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty

999 Lake Shore Drive is a crown jewel of the historic East Lake Shore Drive District, in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Built in 1912 and designed by Benjamin Marshall, the historic tenants of the building included some of Chicago’s earliest and most notable millionaires. The luxury beaux-arts vintage high-rise inspired a book, “999: A History of Chicago in Ten Stories.”

The vast building is home to only 27 units, allowing for apartments to boast large open floor plans and vaulted ceilings. This unit, 2C, offers spectacular lake views. Ten-foot ceilings and beautiful hardwood floors which compliment paneling details, fresco work, a limestone fireplace, and millwork.

We cannot embrace the future without fully appreciating the past, discover historic homes from around the world on sothebysrealty.com