Barrett House – Lorton, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

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Barrett House

A weathered, American Foursquare-style house originally built for lumber merchant William Wimsatt.  


The 20th-century Barrett house is believed to have been built in 1901 for lumber magnate William Wimsatt. The house was designed using the popular Foursquare style design, consisting of a box-like house with four rooms on both the first and second floors. These houses were quick, inexpensive, and easy to build. 

Wimsatt sold the house only two years after its construction to government employee Willliam Pollock who called the house “Pine Croft.” An ode to the use of pine wood in constructing the floors and other elements of the house. Pollock sold the house in 1910 to two-year resident lessee Percy Skinner, who sold the house back to Pollock in 1912. 

Two years later, the house along with several parcels of land and other homes, were purchased by the local government as part of the Washington D.C. workhouse and reformatory.

The name of the house is attributable to Eugene Barrett who lived in the residence in the 1960s while overseeing the agricultural activities of the Lorton workhouse inmates. Though many changes were made to the house over the years, the Foursquare style is still visible along with other original elements, including tapered porch pillars and original doors and windows.

The house and surrounding lands were eventually acquired by Fairfax County. There are several open fields and bike trails that run through the area behind the house.  

Know Before You Go

The home is currently on a list of sites related to the Fairfax County Resident Curator program, which seeks to preserve historic properties by allowing one or more persons to potentially live on the property, in exchange for working to rehabilitate and maintain it in accordance with established preservation standards.

Barrett House is not presently open as of April 2021, but it is possible to park near the house and walk around the property. The house itself is fenced off awaiting future renovation but is very interesting to see from the outside. 

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