Would you explain the underlined part? These words are simple but not sure what "federal gem" and "the papers" refer to.

I was nearing the end of a brief seasonal job when I noticed that my favorite town house had been put up for sale. "A Federal Gem," the papers would have called it.

Thank you,

It seems to refer to a well-maintained or well-restored building from the first half of the 19th century. (The Federalist period of American history is the last decade of the 18th century. 'Gem' = 'something that is special or beautiful in some way'.)
If you want to see more about the Federal style of architecture, you can see this, among other pages.


I assume the writer refers to how the building would have been advertised in the newspapers, where houses for sale are listed.
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Thank you for the reply.

In the same story, there's part the author mentions the nineteenth-century wrought-iron balcony, so I think your answer is totally making sense. But I'm wondering that how you came up with the answer. When I look up "federal" no dictionary says about a particular period.

Also, how should I take this "the papers"? Does this mean, newspapers or some kind of documents which the add is on? I'm lacking some common sense here since I don't know much about real estate in the U.S.

Thank you in advance,

 BarbaraPA's reply was promoted to an answer.
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thank you for the reply and the link. It worked.