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October 7, 2012 Endangered

Endangered: Harry N. Hirshberg Jr. House in Bethesda

Hirshberg House

The front door of the house.

When I saw this vacant mid-century modern house in Bethesda come on the market earlier this year, I knew it was likely not going to survive. Surrounded by $1 million+ McMansions, this 1948 one-level, 4 bed/4 bath home on an acre just inside the Beltway was prime land for a developer. I sent it out to a number of people who were looking, but it went under contract and sold  for $960K (cash) to an LLC in less than a month. I recently saw this sign on the front yard.

Longwood Rd.

Earlier this year, I reached out to Clare Lise Kelly of the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Section (check out Montgomery Modern)  to see if she had information on the house. She did.

Here’s what she sent:

The 3,400 square foot house was designed by Arthur H. Keyes and Basil Yurchenko for  Harry N. Hirshberg Jr., the chairman if Hect Co. Hirshberg died in 1996.  The house was featured in Architectural Record (November 1951) as a successful solution to privacy issues, with the living areas pushed back from the street.  The design received an award of architectural excellence from the Washington Board of Trade in April 1951.  The jury included Louis Skidmore of Skidmore Owings & Merrill; John W. Root of Holabird Root & Burgee; and Pietro Belluschi, dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning.

This house by Cohen & Haft I recently posted is around the corner. Maybe the lower price point will help someone save it from becoming a another McMansion. Just what Bethesda needs.

Hirshberg House

A view of the front of the house from the driveway.

Hirshberg House

A view of the back of the house.

Hirshberg House

Hirshberg House

0 comments Post a Comment

  1. James Bishop — October 8, 2012 @ 12:06 am         Reply

    Wow this house looks great. Having it demolished would really be a shame. I love the covered walk ways and use of stone. It still amazes me people can look at these houses and see a mc mansion as a better replacement.

  2. Beth Novick — October 8, 2012 @ 6:18 am         Reply

    Very beautiful. Very sad.

  3. Steven — October 8, 2012 @ 10:12 am         Reply

    It is a shame that these houses are only a few hundred feet from the beltway. I believe that fact reduces the marketability and likelihood of someone buying the houses to preserve and live in them. $960k is a huge chunk of change to build a house on spec. Most people here who can afford this type of property only care about flashy kitchens with supposed commercial-grade equipment and open floorplan – or whatever they think they know about architecture from watching too much HGTV (which is to say, nothing).

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