Manassas buys Annaburg Manor, 1st house with air conditioning

The 3.65-acre Annaburg Manor was the first home to have air conditioning. (Courtesy City of Manassas)

The City of Manassas has closed on its purchase of the historic Annaburg Manor at 9201 Maple St. for $846,000 from its previous owner, Prince William Hospital.

The property includes 3.65 acres of land. The house was built in 1892 by brewer and inventor Robert Portner. It served as Portner’s summer home, and as such, had one of Porter’s significant inventions.

“It was the first home to have air conditioning. Robert’s patent is still on file in D.C.,” said Patty Prince, spokeswoman for the City of Manassas.

Portner’s designs in air-conditioning, artificial cooling and ice making machines would later contribute to the technology used in today’s air-conditioning systems.

In the 1960s, the manor became a nursing home and rehabilitation center. More recently it has been used largely for storage and has fallen into disrepair.

Manassas City officials plan public hearings this fall for input on what residents would like to see happen with the property. In the meantime, the city will fund some repairs to the property, including the roof, and expects the land to open as a park in coming months.

Based on public input, the city will then proceed with the property’s future.

“We’re hoping that a 501(c)(3) will come into the city and adopt the Annaburg Manor and restore it to its former glory,” Prince told WTOP.

“Some have suggested making Annaburg into a venue for weddings and meetings and those sorts of things, but we really want to see what our residents want out of it before we do anything with the park and the home,” Prince said.

“Novant Health UVA Health System is pleased that the sale of this beautiful property will continue to contribute historical value and use as a green space serving residents and visitors alike,” said Ian McDonald, of the Prince William Hospital Board of Trustees.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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