Chicago — Where is the narrowest house in North America? Guy Smith of Alexandria, Va., may have found the answer. In late August, the Monitor reported on a Boston house only 10 feet, 4 inches wide. Narrow, but not narrow enough, the article stated, because there was a house in Greenwich Village in New York City that is just 9 1/2 feet wide.
There the matter might have rested, except for the work of Mr. Smith, who recently wrote that the Monitor was wrong:
''The attached photos [are] of a house at 523 Queen Street, Alexandria, Va. [ It] is about five blocks from the Potomac River. . . . My neighbor, Don Macklin, lives across the street and willingly posed for the photos [one of which is reprinted above]. . . . The photo was not staged; the dogs are real and not miniature, and are mine, both female labradors, full-size as evidenced from my monthly dog-food bill.''
The house is about 6 feet wide, Smith claims. (But the Alexandria Tourist Council says that it is closer to 7 feet.)
The alley house, built about the turn of the century, can't possibly hold the world record, which belongs to a 5-by-4-by-3-foot box in England, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Still, it might just be the tightest housing in North America.
Time - or another enterprising reader - will tell.