The Washington Post
A parade of notables passed through this door
The Kalorama house that was home to the Icelandic ambassador is on the market for just under $6 million.
The Tudor Revival house, built in 1927, was one of several erected by William A. Hill in the neighborhood. Hill was a developer, builder and real estate agent who was active in Washington during the first part of the 20th century.
In January 1900, Hill became partners with David Moore. Five years later, he bought Moore out but retained the name Moore & Hill, which became one of the leading real estate organizations in the city. While running Moore & Hill, Hill operated independently as a developer. During the 1910s and 1920s, he built more than 30 buildings, including this house.
The house was designed by architect George N. Ray, who frequently collaborated with Hill. Ray designed more than 50 homes in the D.C. area and several branches of the now defunct Riggs Bank. He also helped develop D.C.’S Woodley Park neighborhood.
Ennalls and Frances Fuller Waggaman were the first owners. They bought the house from Hill in 1928. Ennalls Waggaman was a native Washingtonian. He was a director in the Emerson Drug Co., founded by his father, and later a partner at Waggaman-brawner Realty.
The Waggamans sold the house in 1934 to Ralph W. and Ruth N. Mcdowell. Ralph Mcdowell was senior surgeon at what was then the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda. The same year he bought the house, Mcdowell was tasked with removing the appendix of John Roosevelt, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s sons.
Mcdowell died in 1935, and the house was sold the next year to J. Thilman Hendrick, one of the founders of the Washington Herald newspaper and a senior partner at the brokerage firm W.B. Hibbs & Co. President Woodrow Wilson appointed him to the Board of Commissioners of the District, and he served as its president.
Hendrick died in 1944, and two years later, Thomas S. and Elma M. Moran bought the house. Thomas S. Moran, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a career naval officer, according to records provided by the Naval History and Heritage Command. He served as commandant of the naval operating base at Trinidad and was chief of staff of the Tenth Naval District in 1942. The Morans sold the house in 1964.
Before the government of Iceland bought the house, banker Leo Bernstein leased it for a year to the wife of Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek for $2,000 a month. Soong Mei-ling (or Madame Chiang Kai-shek, as she was known) graduated from Wellesley in 1917 and made several tours of the United States.
While in Washington in 1965, she entertained former president Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, and Katherine Marshall, wife of Gen. George C. Marshall. She went to the White House for tea with Lady Bird Johnson.
The government of Iceland paid $195,000 for the house in 1966.
The eye-catching facade has two steeply pitched, overlapping gables, decorative brickwork and half-timbered framing that is distinctive of Tudor houses. Tall windows with transoms are on the first two floors; leaded glass windows are on the upper level.
Despite improvements for modern living, the seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 9,655 square-foot house retains many of its original architectural details. The large entry hall leads to a spacious living room with a tray ceiling and a fireplace. The dining room has a coffered ceiling, a fireplace and French doors that open to the upper-level terrace. The kitchen has a butler’s pantry and a walk-in pantry with a second refrigerator. There are two powder rooms on the main level.
The second floor has the owner’s suite with a sitting room, a dressing room, a walk-in closet and a bathroom with a doublesink vanity. Another bedroom with an en suite bathroom is on this level as is a family room with built-in shelving, a fireplace and a kitchenette.
The top level has a sitting room, a study and five bedrooms.
The lower level has parquet floors and a sliding-glass door that opens to a covered patio and swimming pool. The entrance to the oversize two-car garage is at the back of the house.