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At Wexford, Oct. 27, 1963 with Clipper

(Photo by Cecil Stoughton)


By Steve Brawley


Jackie Kennedy’s style and grace epitomizes Loudoun County’s horse country and its capital, Middleburg. In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy and his family used Middleburg as a retreat from the pressures of the presidency.

In 1960, the Kennedys leased a 400-acre 19th-century farm, Glen-Ora, to relax, foxhunt, and socialize with friends. Later, they built their own weekend country retreat in 1963, “Wexford” in Middleburg (Atoka) on 39 acres bought for $26,000 through the Kennedy's friends the Fouts (who had purchased the land for the Kennedy's from Hubert Phipps). The Kennedys sadly only spent two weekends there as a family prior to Nov. 22. Home movies of JFK feeding a horse at Wexford show a human side of the President and his family.

This is the only house designed from scratch by the President and Jackie. Jackie got some free decorating advice for Wexford from one of her White House decorators - Boudin. It is also the only known retreat used by two Presidents outside of Camp David. President Reagan leased Wexford from its current owners during the Fall 1980 Presidential election. He met with advisors and rehearsed for his debates with President Carter at Wexford (photos below).

Jackie was not originally a big fan of Camp David. But after JFK did some modifications for she and Caroline to ride there, she grew to like it - telling the White House Usher - JB West, that she would have probably not persuaded JFK to build Wexford if she knew how much she liked the retreat named after Eisenhower's grandson.

The house was done by the spring of 1963 and the Kennedy's rented it out since they were not moving out of Glen Ora til fall. It was rented from June to September to A. Dana Hodgons, a DC financial broker, for reportedly $1,000 a month. Their first visit (Jackie and the President) to Wexford would not be until Oct. 25. They visited again on Nov. 10.

Jackie riding at Wexford (Photo by Cecil Stoughton)


Jackie treasured "normal" time with her children, John Jr. and Caroline, here, reading bedtime stories, shopping, and teaching them to ride their ponies. JFK, also a regular visitor, flew in by helicopter to attend Sunday mass at the Middleburg Community Center. He even held rare press conferences in the Jeb Stuart Room at the Red Fox Inn.

Preoccupied with the growing pressures of issues related to Vietnam and the upcoming election year, JFK's first weekend at Wexford did not go so well. An excited Jackie was upset that her husband complained about the lack of closet space and having to give up his personal bedroom if they had several house guests at the new home. His second visit, just before the assassination went smoother and the relaxed couple hosted their friends Ben and Toni Bradlee (home movies of this weekend exist.) That weekend John Jr. finally got the "salute" he had been practicing just right for Jackie. We know two weeks later his rehearsals would sadly pay off.

It was at Wexford that Jackie made the final decision to go to Dallas and to begin the 1964 campaign.

After the assassination, Wexford was sold by Jackie in 1964 to a Q.N. Wong for $225,000. with the provision that no publicity about the house would be permitted for 10 years. It was sold by the Wong's in 1971 for $314,000 to Dr. George Tanham. They sold the estate to William Clements, a member of the Nixon administration and then later elected governor of Texas. (how ironic).

In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend fox hunting weekends in the countryside filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady. She stayed at the Red Fox Inn's McConnell House, not far from Wexford. Later she rented a small cottage. Today, her hunting "pinks" are on display at Morven Park's Museum of Hounds and Hunting, and can be viewed by the public.

The public pavilion and garden next to "The Pink Box" Information Center in Middleburg are dedicated to Jackie in honor of the contributions she made to the town during her residence there.

Again, it is important to note that The Reagan's stayed at Wexford during the fall 1980 Presidential campaign, and Reagan rehearsed for his debates against President Carter here. The Reagan's friends -- the Warners (Senator John Warner and his wife Elizabeth Taylor) -- owned a farm that adjoined Wexford. The owner of Wexford at the time, Gov. Clements of Texas, was a big backer of Reagan.

The house is still there and is located off of Hatchers Mill Road (Marshall, VA).

Wexford was listed for sale for more than $10 million in October 2013.

See detailed history of Wexford after gallery photos below.

Links to home movies of Atoka/Wexford from the JFK Library.

May 26, 1963 Atoka/Wexford Home Movies

October 27, 1963 Atoka/Wexford Home Movies

Nov. 10-11, 1963 Atoka/Wexford Home Movies


Wexford (Design by Jackie Kennedy, Completed 1963)

Floorplan of Wexford (AP Wire 1963).

Rear view of Wexford. From postcard collection of Steven Brawley.

October 2013 real estate listing picture of Wexford.

Front view of Wexford during Wong ownership. (AP Wire photo 1960s.)

Wexford nearing completion March 1963 (see UPI caption below)


Below: The Kennedy's at Wexford (Source: Cecil Stoughton, Kennedy White House Photographer)

Nov. 10, 1963 at Wexford with the Bradlees.

Caroline at Wexford, Nov. 10, 1963

Jackie teaching John to salute, Nov. 10, 1963 Wexford

John Jr. with Ben Bradlee at Wexford, Nov. 10, 1963

Caroline at Wexford, Nov. 10, 1963

Jackie and John Jr. at Wexford, Nov. 10, 1963

John Jr. at Wexford, Nov. 10, 1963

Oct. 27, 1963 at Wexford

Walking with Maud Shaw (the nanny)

Living Room (The Kennedy White House,

Master Bedroom (The Kennedy White House,

Nov. 10, 1963 at Wexford (Cecil Stoughton/JFK Library)

Nov. 10, 1963 at Wexford with Toni Bradlee (Cecil Stoughton/JFK Library)

The famous horse incident with Ben Bradlee, Nov. 10, 1963 (Cecil Stoughton/JFK Library)

(Cecil Stoughton/JFK Library)

(Cecil Stoughton/JFK Library)

(Cecil Stoughton/JFK Library)

The Kennedys and Bradlee's and Clipper (Jackie's German Shepard) at Wexford. Man on right is Paul Fout (he and

his wife Eve Fout were horse experts and good friends of the Kennedys.) (Cecil Stoughton/JFK Library)

John Jr. and Caroline at Wexford, Nov. 10, 1963 (Cecil Stoughton/JFK Library)

View of Wexford under construction January 1963 (Robert Knudsen, JFK Library)

Press clipping about Wexford Construction (Spring 1963).

Press clipping about Wexford Construction (Spring 1963).

Press clipping about Kennedy's moving into Wexford. (Fall 1963)

Press Clipping: Marine One at Wexford (1963)

The Kennedy's arrive from Wexford to attend Church in Middleburg. Oct. 27, 1963. (Corbis)

Arriving at Church, Oct. 27, 1963.(AP Wire Press Clipping)

Leaving Church and heading back to Wexford November 3, 1963. (Corbis)

News clippings about Wexford and Kennedys.

Reagan lease of Wexford Fall 1980 (From Gov. Clements)

August 1980 news wire story about Reagan lease.

Texas Governor Bill Clements (third owner of Wexford) Not sure who his estate sold Wexford to

BELOW: Reagan's at Wexford (Source: Corbis)

Detailed History of the Kennedy Wexford Property

White House memo from Evelyn Lincoln (JFK's secretary) to President Kennedy sometime 1963. It

documents the fact that the Kennedy's purchased the Wexford property through their

friends the Fouts - who purchased the land from Hubert Phipps. (JFK Library)

Information about history of Wexford from the U.S. Dept. of Interior application form from 2008.

The August 2008 application was to name Cromwell’s Run Rural Historic District as a listing on the National Historic Places. Wexford is located in this “district” and several references to Wexford were named in the application. The application was successful and the area was posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 19, 2008.

Wexford (030-0062; 030-5434-0061), while a modest home is included in the historic district as a contributing resource due to its association with President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, who built the house in 1963. The one-story, stucco-clad dwelling is located on Hatcher’s Mill Road on a rocky and wooded outcrop on top of a hill facing west towards the Blue Ridge Mountains. The house is covered by a side-facing gable roof of wooden shingles with gable roofed ells projecting from the rear. Tall interior stucco-clad chimneys pierce the roof. The house is said to have been designed so that each bedroom had exterior access via a pair of French doors, thus allowing visitors to come and go without having to come through the main living areas. Mrs. Kennedy, an avid foxhunter who was a frequent participant with the Orange County Hunt, is credited with the design, which is believed to have been executed by a Winchester-based architect, Keith Williams. The property is enhanced by stone retaining walls and slate patios, and

also includes a garage and a stable.  (Application page 23)

Address: 1664 Hatchers Mill Road 030-0062 Other DHR Id #: 030-5434-0061 Wexford

Primary Resource Information: Single Dwelling, Stories 1.00, Style: Other, 1963

Individual Resource Status: Single Dwelling Contributing Total: 1

Individual Resource Status: Stable Contributing Total: 1

Individual Resource Status: Garage Contributing Total: 1

Individual Resource Status: Tennis Court Non-Contributing Total: 1

Individual Resource Status: Pool/Swimming Pool Non-Contributing Total: 1 (Application page 44)

The Cromwell’s Run Rural Historic District is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A, B, and C, with Criteria Consideration G and a period of significance between circa 1760 and 1958. It also contains Wexford, a house built in 1963 for President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Although less than 50 years old, it is considered a contributing building because of its association with an American president and first lady. The historic district is a definable area that illustrates the historic use of the land by residents in pursuit of an agriculturally-based lifestyle and that possesses a significant concentration of historic buildings that are linked through the continuity of land use, roadways, waterways, and natural features. While largely rural, the area is tied together by the presence of a commercial center (Rectortown) and several crossroads communities. Beginning in the early twentieth century, wealthy Northerners moved into the area, drawn by inexpensive farmland and the rural nature of the area for available foxhunting grounds. The territory of two active hunt clubs—the Orange County Hunt and the Piedmont Fox Hounds is located within the historic district boundaries. (Application page 68)

The district also contains Wexford (030-0061; 030-5434-0062), a house built in 1963 for President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Although less than 50 years old, thus meeting Criteria Consideration G, the house is considered a contributing building because of its historical association with an American president. Wexford is significant as the only residence ever built for the Kennedys and is notable as a residence that was built for a U.S. president while still in office. Wexford also meets Criterion B for its historical association with an American president, and is significant under the politics/government theme. (Application page 69)

Wexford is included as a resource that possesses exceptional importance with regard to the theme of social history. The buildings on the property, located on Hatcher’s Mill Road on Rattlesnake Ridge, were built in 1963 by President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. The Kennedys were frequent visitors to the area given Mrs. Kennedy’s enthusiasm for horse riding and foxhunting. Beginning in 1961, the couple leased at the Middleburg-area estate Glen Ora during

their retreats. The area was well-known to Mrs. Kennedy. As a youth, Mrs. Kennedy had been brought up at her step-father’s Fairfax County estate and had ridden in pony shows, then horse shows, and then the hunting field in the Middleburg area. While living in Washington, D.C., in the late 1950s, she also attended hunts of both the Piedmont and Orange County Hunts with close friends such as Paul and Rachel Mellon and Paul and Eve Fout. In September

1962, Mrs. Kennedy purchased 39 acres, formerly part of the large landholdings of Hubert Phipps, in order to build her own “hunting box.” The transaction was actually between Mrs. Kennedy and the Fouts, who one week prior had purchased the land from Phipps. (This may have been done for political purposes.) In a political irony given the president’s support of a Civil Rights bill, the property was located on the country road (now a private lane known as

Hatcher’s Mill Road) that served as “Segregation Lane,” the delineation between the Piedmont and Orange County hunt territories.

Mrs. Kennedy sketched a modest, U-shaped plan, Ranch-style house that was clad with stucco. Completed in the late spring 1963, the one-story house is covered by wood-shake-shingle gable roofs, is of concrete block construction with a stucco finish, and features a long flagstone terrace across its western front, which has an expansive view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The house backs up to “Rattlesnake Ridge,” which is a wooded and rocky outcropping to the east. In addition to the dwelling, a stable and a garage were also constructed on the site. The house was intended to be simple and informal and to provide a private retreat for the First Family. According to Kitty Slater, the president likely spent only one weekend at the house before his assassination. Mrs. Kennedy visited the house afterwards, but in 1964 she sold the property, though she continued to visit the area for fox hunting until her death in 1994.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan leased the house during his 1980 bid for the presidency. While the Kennedys participated in the life of the community through Mrs. Kennedy’s serious commitment to the hunt and by attending a few social events, such as their children’s pony shows and Sunday Mass, they made a concerted effort not to impact the quietude of the region, which they highly valued. There is no doubt, however, that their presence brought national and international attention to the area and has become part of the Hunt Country lore and “mystique.” Wexford, so named for the president’s family’s county of origin in Ireland, is a contributing resource to the historic district as the only residence ever built by the Kennedys and is notable as a residence that was built by a U.S. president while still in office. The property also has significant associations with the social history of the historic district. (Application pages 86-87)

2011 view of Wexford, house is on upper left. Tennis courts added after Kennedys.

Source Google Earth

Dec. 31, 1962 Wexford Under Construction (Knudsen/JFK Library)

Dec. 31, 1962 Wexford Under Construction (Knudsen/JFK Library)

Dec. 31, 1962 Wexford Under Construction (Knudsen/JFK Library)



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Steve Brawley (314) 740-0298