MANASSAS, Va. — When it is hot, most of us want to get cool. Today, we would turn on the air conditioning. However, that was not always possible.
One early home cooling system emerged in Manassas, Virginia -- not far from the District.
At the intersection of Portner and Maple Streets in Manassas, there stands a regal building built in the 1890s named Annaburg Manor. Prussian immigrant and millionaire brewer, Robert Portner, built it as his family’s summer home, naming it after his wife Anna.
This remarkable dwelling included one of the first mechanical air conditioning systems, invented by Portner himself.
While there are other, more famous early air conditioning pioneers, such as Willis Carrier’s 1902 system, the Manassas Manor may have been the first mechanically cooled, climate-controlled home.
Later, Annaburg Manor became 'Manassas Manor Nursing Home', where wings were added on. In 2007, the extensions were removed and it was to be a rental site for special events.
Later in 2019, the City of Manassas purchased it with the intention of making it a park. While Annaberg fell into disrepair, there has been an ongoing process of restoration.
If you are in the Manassas area, make a turn off Sudley Road onto Portner and take a look at one, cool house: Annaburg Manor.