Looking Back: Not Everyone Liked to See a Picture of Their House In a Magazine

Once upon a time The Washingtonian ran an annual feature that showed pictures of the homes of prominent DC residents—it was called Map of the Stars, a knockoff of a book published in Los Angeles that featured homes of movie stars.

We’d take a picture of a VIP’s home (from the sidewalk or street, never going onto the homeowner’s property), give readers the general location but not the street address, and include its purchase price and year it was bought, its current value (estimated by a real estate agent), and its assessed value. The assessed value was a reason to do it other than voyeurism—if a city council member lived in a house worth $900,000 and the house was assessed at $400,000, it  seemed a public service to point that out.

Some owners of the homes featured in Map of the Stars weren’t happy about it. A TV reporter—still prominent—called to ask that we not include his home because his young daughter feared being kidnapped. We didn’t run that picture.

Not long after one Map of the Stars feature was published, I was having lunch at a popular DC restaurant when Washington Post humor columnist Art Buchwald walked up to our table, pointed at me, and said in a loud voice, “You son of the bitch, they burglarized my house.”

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