The Oscar-nominated drama “The Post,” directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, takes viewers back to the 1970s, when the reporters of the Washington Post were at the center of a national political drama. Much of that, in fact, takes place in real, beautifully appointed rooms in some of the historic homes that grace the nation’s capital.
Streep plays Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of that newspaper, and Hanks stars as Ben Bradlee, the Post’s editor. The story revolves around their attempts to publish classified documents depicting America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, known as the Pentagon Papers.
Through a combination of artful re-creation, exterior location shots, and real-life real estate, the movie provided a feel for the main characters’ glamorous and grand residences.
Inspired by the dogged reporters depicted in the film, we dug into the locations featured in the movie to pull out their fascinating backstories. And if you’re interested in historic homes at the center of the nation’s political circles, we found a few that are actually on the market.
Ben Bradlee’s real-life home
The Laird-Dunlop house at 3014 N Street NW
Full disclosure: Bradlee didn’t own this stately home during the time frame depicted in the movie. But the history of the home and its inhabitants may be worthy of its own screenplay. Bradlee bought the place in 1983, with his third wife, Sally Quinn, a reporter at the Post who became known as a dazzling hostess. More on that in a moment—first, let’s tour this historic home still owned by Quinn.
The red-brick Colonia Revival was built in the late 1790s for John Laird, one of Georgetown’s richest men, who owned a tobacco warehouse.
Laird’s daughter and her husband, John Dunlop, inherited the real estate, and contributed to its name. In 1911, Robert Todd Lincoln, son of former President Abraham Lincoln, purchased the place.
Lincoln later sold it to a granddaughter of J.P. Morgan, who divided the main property and the coach house into separate deeds. The 8,000-square-foot coach house, which featured a ballroom, was sold to an unnamed buyer in 2013 for $7.6 million.
In 1983 Bradlee bought the N Street home for $2.5 million, one of the highest amounts paid for a Washington home at the time.
These days, Georgetown is a historic and upscale locale, graced with 18th- and 19th-century homes as well as high-end shopping, art galleries, and dining spots. The real estate market has grown even hotter.
The property includes a double living room with arched windows in a custom rose color that Quinn concocted herself.
“I wanted the perfect color that makes everyone look beautiful at night,” Quinn told Home and Design magazine.
The formal dining room includes bookcases that have been filled by the book lovers. Don’t believe that Quinn is an icon? Over a couch in Quinn’s office are four portraits of her done by Andy Warhol.
While the front of the home is right on the street, the back reveals a covered porch that extends the length of the house, English garden, pool, and tennis court.
The two ruled from their Georgetown perch over the DC social scene.
“Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn threw some memorable bashes at their home on 3014 N Street,” wrote Rick Massimo in his book “A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set.”
Wrangling an invite for their New Year’s Eve party was akin to “winning the lottery,” according to a description in Vanity Fair. The guest lists included such power brokers as Ted Kennedy, Colin Powell, Tom Brokaw, Mike Nichols and Diane Sawyer, Henry Kissinger, Barbara Walters, and Nora Ephron.
Katharine Graham’s real-life home
The Beall-Washington house at 2920 R Street, NW
Graham, who died in 2001, was a towering figure in DC, as both the publisher of the Post and a host of soirees in her tony Georgetown manse. Like Bradlee and Quinn’s ex-residence, the publisher’s former home also had quite a pedigree. The 1870 estate was owned by George Washington’s great-grandnephew. Yes, that George Washington, who married a descendant of Ninian Beall, the original owner of much of Georgetown, according to the Georgetown Metropolitan.
Graham and her husband, Philip Graham, bought the gracious home in 1947 from Gen. William “Wild Bill” Donovan for $125,000, according to the Washington Post.
They lived there until their deaths: Philip by suicide in 1963, and Katharine of head injuries after a fall nearly two decades ago. Both are buried across the street at Oak Hill Cemetery.
The property is set back from the street with a circular driveway, creating a more country-style estate than the typical Georgetown residence. When Graham lived there, she threw parties with guest lists that included “presidents, senators, congressmen, and the cream of the media, “ according to Massimo’s book. The home hosted the likes of Bob Woodward, Robert McNamara, and Nancy Reagan.
After Graham’s death, her family put the estate on the market for $8.35 million.
The nine-bedroom home has elements that date to the 1700s. It sits on 1.24 acres and boasts 10,285 square feet of space, plus a large back porch, pool, and stable with an apartment on top, the Post reported at the time.
It was purchased in 2002 for about $8 million by venture capitalist Mark Ein. Before moving in, the DC-area investor decided to modernize and renovate the home, which created a neighborhood uproar. Because he was unable to modify the home to his tastes, he’s left the place unoccupied for 16 years.
Ein did seem to appreciate some parts of the home’s history, allowing director Spielberg to shoot the outside of the residence for “The Post.”
Live like an old-timey newspaper magnate
While Bradlee’s and Graham’s former homes are off the market, there are other glorious houses in the vicinity that are currently available to an interested buyer. Here are some options:
The scoop: Built in 1900, this seven-bedroom home offers historic architecture, high ceilings, five fireplaces, a renovated kitchen, and luxurious bathrooms. Outside there’s a patio, pool, in-law suite, and parking for two cars.
The scoop: Built in 1797 by John Mason (nephew of George Mason, delegate to the Constitutional Convention), this Georgetown mansion has hosted senators and presidents. With over 10,000 square feet of renovated space, the layout includes a whopping nine bedrooms.
Former home of Robert McNamara
2412 Tracy Pl NW
As defense secretary from 1961 to 1968, McNamara was responsible for escalating U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, and figures into “The Post” along with his house. The Pentagon Papers had been commissioned by the Department of Defense as a history of the war. In the film, Graham pays a visit to McNamara’s home to make her case for publishing the papers.
McNamara, the former president of Ford Motor Company, purchased a home in the upscale neighborhood of Kalorama after securing a role in the Cabinet. His former home, built in 1924 and updated over the decades since, was sold after his death in 2010 for $6.1 million, one of the highest prices for the neighborhood at the time.
The neighborhood continues to draw the powerful and rich. It is where the Obamas call home, as well as Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. The Post’s current owner, Jeff Bezos, paid $23 million for the former Textile Museum, which is set to be converted into his DC compound, the Post reported.
The production designer and crew were on a tight deadline to get the film into theaters as they worked to put together accurate representations of the paper’s newsroom and the city from decades past. The interiors of the Bradlee and Graham homes were sets, built side by side at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn.
An 1829 brownstone at 104 Willow St. in Brooklyn Heights stood in for a house in 1970s Georgetown. The beautiful powder-blue building was last sold in 2014 for $10.6 million, according to property records.
Three floors of an empty ’50s-era office building at 440 Hamilton Ave. in White Plains, NY, was filled with period desks, typewriters, and chairs to re-create the Post newsroom, pressroom, and executive offices.
And the awesome vintage printing press shown in the movie was located in a naval yard right next to where the movie was shooting at Steiner Studios.
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