The stately house was built in 1929 by real estate developer William A. Hill, who hired architect John J. Whelan to design the house. Whelan came to Washington in 1926 and established a partnership with his Princeton classmate F. Moran “Mike” McConihe.
Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region
The two men specialized in building luxurious homes and embassies, including Norway’s and South Africa’s. During the 1920s, they played a major role in the development of the Kalorama neighborhood in Northwest Washington and were the ones who designed the house where former president Barack Obama now lives.
Not long after the house was built, Hill sold it to Beale Richardson Howard, a vice president of the Evening Star newspaper. Howard’s father-in-law, George Barclay Adams, was one of the founders of the newspaper. The Howards did not remain long in the home. He died in 1935 and his wife four years later.
Longtime real estate broker Alexander B. Hagner — whose father, Randall H. Hagner, owned a real estate firm — lived in the home from 1940 to 1946.
Aaron S. Schwartzman, a doctor who practiced family medicine in Anacostia for 45 years, bought the house from Hagner. Schwartzman, a Ukrainian immigrant, worked his way through medical school at George Washington University by translating medical journals and Russian novels into English. He also wrote a book on cardiology and translated three volumes on chemotherapy from German.
In 1954, Richard Hays Hawkins Jr. took ownership of the house. Hawkins was a 31-year Foreign Service officer who served in Australia, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Spain. He retired as consul general in Montreal in 1970.
David Brockway, a tax lawyer, was chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress from 1983 to 1987. The Brockways bought the house in 1988. About 15 years ago, the couple hired interior designer Frank Babb Randolph and Horizon Builders to update the house and correct some of its inefficiencies. The basement floor was dug down, creating higher ceilings and a better living space on the lower level. Stairs to the lower level were added because the only way to reach it was by elevator. A wine storage area was also created.
The kitchen was modernized and French doors that open to the gardens were installed. The bathrooms were renovated as well.
Despite all the changes, the Brockways preserved many of the original details that make the house special, such as the fireplace mantels.
“It’s a really elegant house, but it’s not pretentious,” Marilyn said. “It’s very livable. And the craftsmanship, I mean, the staircase in there is so beautiful.”
The Brockways said they are reluctant to leave their longtime home.
“I feel sad,” Marilyn said. “We’re conflicted about selling it, but it doesn’t make sense for us to be there. . . . It just has a really good vibe about the house. It’s been a happy place to live. I hope the next people have a happy [time there]. It is a great house.”
The five-bedroom, seven-bathroom, 7,787-square-foot house is listed at just under $6.5 million.
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