Jackie's Letters, Kennedys' Virginia Country Home For Sale
Auctioneers are selling off a bit of Kennedy history Feb. 19 in the form of Jacqueline Kennedy's correspondence and other memorabilia surrounding a Virginia estate where the family spent just a few weekends before JFK was assassinated.
"You have done the most fantastic job and everyone agrees that house is really a dream. One could not wish for anything more perfect -- if only we could live in it all year long! And Jack loves it," the First Lady gushed in one handwritten letter to the couple that acted as her building agents.
Jackie viewed the estate, which she named Wexford House, as an equestrian retreat to rival the Hyannis Port compound in Massachusetts owned by her husband's family.
Wexford House has been on the market for more than a year, with a price drop from $11 million in late 2013 to $7.95 million, according to listing agent Patricia Burns of Middleburg Real Estate.
"The house was finished in '63, and they were there for three weekends, the last of which was the weekend before they went to Dallas," Burns said. "What's very special to me about it is that it's still almost in original condition."
A few videos of the Kennedys at Wexford House are available online at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, including the scenes above from a weekend they spent there in late October 1963.
The stucco home measures 5,050 square feet and has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and an abundance of riding trails on the grounds. Originally situated on 39 acres, the property today has 167 acres amid rolling hills backed by the Blue Ridge Mountains.
There are his-and-hers dressing rooms, multiple fireplaces and built-in cabinets and bookcases. Outside are a pool, tennis court and horse stables with water and electricity, as well as two separate living areas. The detached garage has a bathroom and second-floor studio, and the property includes an underground bomb shelter.
Jacqueline Kennedy's paper trail reveals the home was paid for by her father-in-law, Joe Kennedy Sr., and that it cost just over $127,000, which was quite a bit more than the $40,000 she'd agreed to spend. In the book "JFK's Last Hundred Days," author Thurston Clarke says John Kennedy was strongly opposed to building the home but agreed to it because his wife wanted it so much.
The estate has other presidential connections, too. Wexford House was leased by Ronald and Nancy Reagan during the fall of the 1980 presidential campaign. Reagan rehearsed there for debates with President Jimmy Carter.