For Sale: Calvin Coolidge's Temporary White House

Calvin Coolidge's DC mansion
Calvin Coolidge's DC mansion

By Erika Riggs

When the roof leaks, you're going to have to do some repairs. And when it's the roof of the White House, it's even more imperative that water doesn't seep through the building.

President Calvin Coolidge discovered just how leaky the ceiling of the White House was during a rainstorm in 1927, and as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. underwent renovations, he and his wife moved to the Patterson Mansion for the summer.

Although not quite the size of the White House, the Patterson Mansion -- now for sale at $26 million-- is quite significant on its own. Built in 1901 on iconic Dupont Circle, the home was built for Robert and Elinor Medill Patterson, owners of the Chicago Tribune. The Patterson family owned the home until 1948, when daughter Eleanor Josephine "Cissy" Medill Patterson passed away and left the residence to the Red Cross. Cissy, following in her family's journalism footsteps, was the first woman editor to lead a major daily newspaper.

Cissy was the one who offered the home to the Coolidges during the summer of 1927. During those few months, the president and first lady hosted aviator Charles Lindbergh after he completed his transatlantic flight.

In 1951 the Red Cross sold the residence to the current owners, The Washington Club. Up until then, the neoclassic home remained largely unchanged.

"The Washington Club added a large addition in 1956," said Brad Nelson, vice president of marketing for TTR Sotheby's International Realty. "The two-story addition added a banquet hall, auditorium and reception room. This expanded the total size of the mansion to more than 36,000 square feet."
Since then, minor renovations have been completed -- including installation of air conditioning and updates to accommodate fire code -- but Nelson says overall, the architectural detail is well-maintained.

The white marble-and-brick building sits on a third of an acre. The home opens with a grand hall with terrazzo and marble floors and a marble stairway leading to an enormous landing with marble fountain. An elevator serves all four floors, which hold the 16 bedrooms, including a master bedroom with attached dressing room and generous master bath.

A separate entrance leads to the 1956 addition, which holds the entrance, banquet hall, reception room and auditorium.

View a video tour of the home here.

The listing is held by Jonathan Taylor, Christie Weiss and Christopher Ritzert of TTR Sotheby's International Realty.


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