Celebrity Homes

Code-breaker’s historic cottage sells in Georgetown

A quaint and historic one-bedroom cottage in Georgetown, with a past as intriguing as its crimson-red facade, has sold for about US$1 million.

Dating back to around 1780, the property was once home to American cryptanalyst Ann Caracristi who, in WWII, focused on deciphering the additive systems used by Japanese military forces and merchant fleet.

Caracristi, who was also the first female deputy director of the National Security Agency, owned the house from 1950 to 2016.

Public historian Katherine Fisher, who includes the home in her ‘Spies of Georgetown’ tour, told the Washingtonian, “It looks like any cottage you might see on the seacoast of England. It’s really like walking back into time when you go in there. If I had a million dollars, I would have bought it.”

According to the listing on Zillow, the property has a “pending offer” after being listed for US$998,000.

Inside, weathered wooden beams frame the living room ceiling, one of which bears the etched year 1721, adding to the property’s historical intrigue.

Ms Fisher further revealed that the house is believed to have been constructed by a British sea captain in the 1700s.

Caracristi affectionately nicknamed the cottage “Little Red” and called it home for 65 years.

Many of Caracristi’s personal belongings, including wooden desks, a collection of books, and her treasured pewter pieces, are still inside the home and will be sold with it.

However, the buyers should not expect to uncover any NSA secrets within its walls.

“My understanding is that the NSA swept the house after [Caracristi] died to make sure there was nothing top secret there,” Ms Fisher told the Washingtonian.

This unique property, ensconced between two row houses on 28th Street, not only offers a glimpse of an earlier time but also a connection to a significant chapter of American history.

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