Gov. Shepherd Should See It Now

by John B. Willmann

Real Estate Editor

CHANCES are that you haven't seen the old Governor Shepherd mansion lately. But if you have, you probably didn't recognize it. The place doesn't show its nearly 100 years.

A young sociologist named Ralph Fertig came to town last year to become executive director of Southeast Neighborhood House. He was looking for a comfortable old home for his wife and three young children. Also, he was interested in locating in an attractive neighborhood where people of different races and faiths lived in harmony.

Naturally, he heard about Neighbors Inc. and the work being done in the Shepherd Park section of Northwest Washington. The Fertigs went to a party one night in that area and heard talk about an old mansion built for the District's Governor Alexander Shepherd. Friend Barbara Goldstein showed the old home at 7714 13th St. to Fertig and his wife-by moonlight.

“We fell in love, as they say, with the house,” explained Fertig. “We realized that the stucco (placed over original clapboard) was peeling, cracking and blistering. But we liked the Victorian-Colonial styling, the columns, the ballroom, seven bedrooms, the half-acre lot, the trees and the neighborhood.”

That was six months ago. Now the mansion shimmers in a wrap-around coat of white aluminum siding. The shutters have been repainted dark grey, almost black. The tin roof sides have been painted. And much of the interior has been depapered, replastered, painted, papered and generally spruced up.

“We're not quite finished inside. But the place does look fine,” said Fertig. “We've spent about $6000 in addition to the purchase price and we've already been offered $45,000, considerably more than our investment, and have turned it down. We like the place too much to sell it now.”

Gov. Shepherd Should See It Now, The Washington Post, by by John B. Willmann, Real Estate Editor, Apr 6, 1963, page D1. (PDF)