Reading about the reported sale of 2723 Q St. in Georgetown for “close to $4-miilion” the other day triggered a flood of memories, like the winter afternoon I skidded in my 1954 Chevrolet and narrowly missed slamming into the CIA director and the Secretary of State in the Eisenhower administration.
Allen Dulles, who headed the CIA, lived with his family at 2723 Q in those days and his brother, Secretary of State John Foster, often came over to visit. The two were standing just outside the narrow driveway next door at Dumbarton House where my Great Aunt was the caretaker and lived with her sister in small apartment attached to the Dumbarton mansion at 2715 Q St.
Fortunately, I skidded to a stop before hitting either of the Dulles brothers or the large brick wall fronting Dumbarton House. Otherwise, who knows? The course of history might have been changed.
Things were vastly different back in the late 1950’s. It’s hard to imagine the CIA director and Secretary State standing on a Georgetown Street, chatting casually without any Secret Service protection these days.
During my high school days in the late 1950’s, I was a regular visitor at Dumbarton House, run by the Colonial Dames of America, where both of my Great Aunts, Emily and Nannie Chase, lived for about a decade. (When my father, an Army officer, was transferred to Hawaii, I lived there for a few months while finishing high school at Wakefield in Arlington and working the night shift as a sportswriter at the old Washington Daily News.)
So, it caught my eye when the classic house next door to Dumbarton House was sold, one of three transactions involving parts of the famed Evermay Estate, which reportedly is on the market itself for $29-million.
The sale of 2723 Q St. was part of a deal where three notable Georgetown properties were sold by Harry Belin, whose grandfather Lammot Belin bought Evermay in 1923. The other properties recently sold by Belin were 2727 Q St. and 1001 28th St. according to a report in Washington Life Magazine.
You can read more details on the iconic Evermay property on the plaque in front of the main mansion on 28th Street, just down the street from Montrose Park.
But 2723Q St. is the Evermay house that I remember best. Even though I never set foot on the property, I recall seeing famed guests—and presumably some CIA spooks too—go in and out of the place to meet with Allan Dulles, often clad in a tweed jacket and smoking a pipe. On occasion there were large parties inside the house and we could see the guests from our perch in the apartment living room next door.
More recently, I learned that Erskine Bowles of current Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction fame (or notoriety, depending upon your view) lived at 2723 Q St. during his years serving as chief of staff for former President Clinton. Anybody know what Bowles paid to rent the place?
Nice thing about Georgetown even today: you just never know who you might bump into on the street.