If you are a history buff and have always wanted to own a piece of history, now is your big chance! The Schuman Team of Washington Fine Properties is selling the Olney MD property known as Headwaters.
Property Address: 11 Shallow Brook Court, Olney MD 20832, just 15 miles north of Washington, DC
Lot Size: 2.33 acres
List Price: $1,399,000
Virtual Tour: Click on Headwaters to access the virtual tour
Highlights: Headwaters is a beautiful stately 5 bedroom, 4 full bath renovated home built in 1925. Headwaters was the winner of the 1995 Major Historic Renovation Award. It is likely the largest home ever designed and built by Sears to create a replica of Mt. Vernon. The grounds are awesome and include a pool and charming cottage.
History Lesson: Headwaters is a historically significant Manor Home located 15 miles just north of Washington D.C. in the city of Olney in Montgomery County, Maryland. The home was built between 1924-1925 by Lionel Probert, who was then the executive vice president of the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad, and close friend of President Calvin Coolidge. Probert had purchased the property about ten years earlier, and built of the same footprint as the original home. This is likely true as the fireplaces from the original home remain and anchor the living and dining rooms, respectively.
In the early 1920’s, the largest U.S. supplier of building products, and the largest builder of homes was Sears Roebuck Company. Headwaters is likely the largest home ever designed and built by Sears architechts and craftsmen. Just five years later the same team from Sears’ Home Construction Division that built Headwaters was chosen to create an exact replica of Mt. Vernon for the 1931 Paris Exposition.
President Herbert Hoover personally made the decision that the United States would be represented at the exhibition with a Mt. Vernon display. Headwaters figured prominently in the Hoover’s selection of Sears as the home was offered as surrogate for the government to review. Indeed, Probert was also a personal friend of Hoover, and stayed often at the White House while Headwaters was under construction.
Headwaters was purchased by Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior in 1931 under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ickes was one of President Roosevelt’s most trusted “New Dealers, and Icke’s published diaries document many Roosevelt visits to “the Farm.” Headwaters remained the home of Ickes and his wife, Jane, until he sold the property in the early 1970’s.
Today, the architectural design and integrity of Headwaters remains almost completely original and intact. Virtually every door and window in the home is as built and installed in 1925. All of the brass hardware and hinges are original, as is most of the oak flooring.
Fortunately for preservationists, Headwaters has had relatively few owners. Probert, a bachelor, lived in the home for only a few years. The Ickes family owned the property for the next 40 years, and other than building the bookshelves in the living room in the 1930’s, made no changes to the original Sears design or construction.
Two subsequent owners began renovations in the early 1980’s Mr. and Mrs. Ray Martin in particular owned Headwaters for the next 25 years and completed the “first round” of renovations. This included the installation of copper plumbing systems, new HVAC, and new boilers for radiator heat. Most importantly, the Martins completely stripped all of the paint from painted surfaces, especially doors, window frames, sashes, and baseboards to assure the integrity of the new paintwork.