Virginia Landmarks Register
February 20, 1973
National Register of Historic Places
National Historic Landmark
November 11, 1971
Novelist, poet and essayist John Dos Passos lived at Spence's Point for much of his life. Dos Passos's experimental writing includes the interwoven U.S.A. trilogy containing The 42nd Parallel, 1919 and The Big Money. Still a private residence, Spence's Point is owned by Dos Passos's daughter.
TEXT OF ENTRY ON VIRGINIA LANDMARKS REGISTER
"Writer John Dos Passos (1896-1970) lived on this Potomac River farm for a portion of every year from 1949 until his death. Here he wrote many of his later works. The property was purchased in the late 19th century by Dos Passos's father, John Randolph Dos Passos, a Portuguese shoemaker's son who became a successful New York lawyer. As a youth Dos Passos lived with his mother but made frequent visits to Spence's Point with both parents. The plain three-bay farmhouse was built in 1806 for Alexander Spence. Dos Passos added the brick wing and much interior woodwork after making the house his principal residence. Among his writings are Three Soldiers (1921) and his trilogy U.S.A., which includes The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936). Spence's Point remains the property of Dos Passos's family; his second-floor office is much as he left it."