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There’s No House In The World Like This One In Virginia

While the Alexandria Spite House, or “Queen Street Skinny House” as it’s also known, is not the only spite house in the world, it is truly one-of-a-kind. Named the “Narrowest House in America” by Ripley’s Believe It or Not, this historic home on Queen Street in Alexandria’s Old Town measures in at only 7 feet wide and 25 feet deep.

With approximately 325 square feet over two stories, the Alexandria Spite House was built by John Hollensbury in 1830. Hollensbury owned an adjacent home and was disturbed by the alley running between his home and the one next door. Tired of horse-drawn wagons making their way through the alley and convinced that the dark, narrow space would draw ne’er-do-wells, Hollensbury built a home to block the alley and protect his peace of mind.

Really more of a sealed alleyway than a free-standing home, the Spite House features interior walls that are merely the painted exterior walls of the homes enclosing it on either side. Today, evidence of the wagons that once squeezed through the narrow alley  can be seen in the form of deep grooves worn into the brick walls.

Despite its small size, the Alexandria Spite House has drawn big attention over the years. Always a local favorite, the home is featured on walking tours and in local landmark displays. Although the home is privately owned and not open to interior tours, it has been featured in publications like the New York Times and Roadside America, and was even featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007.

A house in Long Beach, California, has also been called the “Thinnest House in America.” However, at nine-feet wide, it offers more space by far than Alexandria’s landmark home. Likewise, in 2012, a home was built in Poland that measures only 122 centimeters at it widest. However unlike the Alexandria Spite House, this home was built more as an art installation, rather than a permanent residence.

The Spite House on Queen Street has been home to a number of families over the years. The home’s current owners purchased it in 1990, and while it is used primarily as a weekend home, the Spite House has proven that, despite its small size, it has more than enough charm and personality to entertain a crowd.

Have you visited the Alexandria Spite House? Have you seen any other “spite” houses built around the nation? We would love to hear your stories in the comments below!

Anna Strock
Virginia staff writer for Only in Your State, freelance writer and journalist. Even though Anna has lived other places, somehow Virginia is where she always seems to land.