The Historic Georgetown Mansion Jackie Kennedy Once Called Home Could Reach $20 Million at Auction

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In early 1964, in mourning after her husband’s assassination the previous November, Jacqueline Kennedy left the White House with her two children, Caroline and John Jr., for Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood. She purchased a Federalist-style, red-brick mansion nearly as old as the U.S. itself.

The home's entryway. Photo: Sean Shanahan. Courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty.

The home’s entryway. Photo: Sean Shanahan. Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

But it could not provide the seclusion she required. A 1964 article in The Washington Post referred to the home as a “foremost tourist attraction,” with hordes of sightseers gathered in front each weekend, hoping to catch a glimpse of the grieving family, while tour buses clogged the streets. Finally, in September of that year, she decided to move to New York City, opting for the uber-privacy she could have atop 1040 Fifth Avenue, free from the harsh glare of publicity.

The stately home hit the market earlier this year for $26.5 million, then it was reduced to $19.5 million. It’s now up for auction through Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions. Bidding opened October 10 and continues through October 24. Although it is a no-reserve sale—meaning there is no minimum price—opening bids are expected to start between $5 million and $11 million.

A bedroom in the home. Photo: Sean Shanahan. Courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty.

A bedroom in the home. Photo: Sean Shanahan. Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

The main house was built in 1794 and added to the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 1976. Its most recent owner, the late construction entrepreneur David W. Hudgens, bought the property in 2017 and combined it with two adjoining addresses—built in 1880 and 1950—to create a sprawling 16,000-square-foot estate with 13 bedrooms. 

The main residence features a grand reception hall that retains many of its original details, including elaborate paneling and moldings. Other features include a second-floor suite with parquet flooring, a private balcony that overlooks the gardens, and a third-floor observation deck.

The dining room features a gold-leaf ceiling. Photo: Sean Shanahan. Courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty.

The dining room features a gold-leaf ceiling. Photo: Sean Shanahan. Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

The First Lady wasn’t the only famous owner of the manor. Thomas Beall, who became Georgetown’s second mayor in 1791, built it in 1794. Newton D. Baker, who was President Woodrow Wilson’s secretary of war, called the space home from 1916 to 1920, where he is thought to have held meetings and prepared for the country’s involvement in World War I.

Another notable dweller in the home—after Jackie Kennedy—was Yolande Fox, Miss America of 1951. She is remembered for refusing to wear a swimsuit during the pageant, emphasizing intellect over beauty. Soon after, she married film magnate Matthew Fox, the former vice-president of Universal Pictures, and some time later bought the Georgetown house, where she resided until her death in 2016.

After that, the property was purchased by Hudgens, who documented its long history in an 88-page dossier that will be furnished to the highest bidder on October 24. 

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