Will Georgetown Keep Cool With Coolidge?

Will yet another president call Georgetown home?

Representatives from the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation presented plans at an Oct. 2 Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting for locating a Washington, D.C., outpost at the historic Georgian mansion at 3425 Prospect St. NW. The property, now offered at $6.9 million, has been on the market for more than two years.

“The Coolidge Foundation is very interested in finding a suitable property in Washington,” the foundation’s Executive Director Matthew Denhart told The Georgetowner. “We have been through the Quality Hill property on Prospect Street and think it would be a fantastic option for us if we are successful in gaining a zoning adjustment that would allow for our nonprofit use. Our presentation to the ANC was a preliminary one to simply share our idea and seek input from the community. We don’t have a formal written proposal or concept to share at this time.”

Dedicated to the 30th president and headquartered at Plymouth Notch, Vermont, the foundation offers scholarships, among other programs, and touts Coolidge as a sensible man whose down-to-earth advice is needed more than ever today.

While neighbors on Prospect Street may have called it the Pell house, the 10,000-square-foot house was named Quality Hill by its first owner, John Thomson Mason, nephew of one of America’s founding fathers, George Mason. Prominent physician Charles Worthington lived there for 25 years.

For a time in the early 20th century, Albert Clemons, owner of historic Halcyon House — also on Prospect Street — owned Quality Hill and used it for storage. In the 1940s, the house finally got electricity during a major renovation by Sir Willmott Lewis and Lady Norma Bowler Lewis. In 1961, she sold it to Rhode Island Sen. Clairborne Pell and his wife Nuala. The current owners, the Taylors, bought the house in 2004. The house then underwent a significant restoration and rehabilitation.

Built in 1798, the house has nine bedrooms. Thomas Jefferson is said to have dined there. Arches in the center hallway supposedly came from the Francis Scott Key House on M Street. The house is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The two-story gray brick house is listed by Russell Firestone of TTR Sotheby’s International Reality.


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