A demolition permit application has been filed for 6407 Wilson Blvd, the address associated with the more than century-old Febrey-Lothrop house.
The permit has yet to be approved after Tuesday’s filing, but county officials previously said that legally it must go through if all of the paperwork is in order, despite the protestations of some local preservationists.
The turn-of-the-century mansion with a colorful history and notable former residents — including department store magnate Alvin Lothrop, businessman and aviator Howard Hughes, local businessman and sportsman Randy Rouse, and actress Audrey Meadows of The Honeymooners fame — is potentially set for demolition after the Arlington Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board voted to study a historical designation for the 9+ acre property.
The historic designation process is being conducted against the wishes of the trust left by Rouse, who passed away in 2017. Demolition would circumvent the restrictions imposed by a historic designation, before they’re put into place.
Sid Simmonds, an accountant who represents the Rouse trust, did not return a request for comment from ARLnow.
Those who would like to see the aging mansion preserved have been circulating an online petition.
The MoveOn.org petition, created by “passionate preservationist” Tom Dickinson, calls for Arlington County to suspend the issuance of a demolition permit, expedite the completion of the Local Historic District designation study, and to either purchase the property or “find a buyer who will preserve the property for public use.”
The petition also calls for the creation of a “‘Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens’ in Arlington for the community to enjoy, and for historic tourism and economic benefits.”
Here’s what the petition says about the property, which is located in the Dominion Hills neighborhood, near Arlington’s border with Fairfax County:
The Febrey-Lothrop-Rouse estate is a unique, large privately held property in Arlington. It has a long and significant history, dating back to the Febrey family farm and house, built in 1855. The Febrey family was one of the most prestigious and well-known in the D.C. area at that time. It was the location of a large encampment for thousands of Union Soldiers during the Civil War, 1861-65. The estate was subsequently owned by Alvin Lothrop, a co-founder/owner of the Woodward-Lothrop Department Store chain. The last owner was Randolph Rouse who was married to Audrey Meadows, a world famous actress in the 1950s and 60s. The property was also once owned by TWA Airlines, which was owned by Howard Hughes, who occasionally stayed at the property. It is important that Arlington protect and preserve such a unique, undeniably historic property for public access. This is a once-in-forever opportunity to take a stand for historic preservation in Arlington County.
As of this morning the petition has more than 675 signatures.