For some people, sleeping in a presidential bedroom is the thrill of a lifetime. But in the Washington area, the experience can last a lifetime.
Two houses that have been owned by former presidents were offered for sale recently. The sprawling Tudor manor in tony Wesley Heights is where Richard M. Nixon is believed to have written the famous “Checkers” speech that saved his candidacy for vice president. The other residence is the suburban Alexandria split-level where Gerald Ford lived as he prepared to step into the presidency when Nixon resigned in 1974.
They are among at least two dozen area houses that presidents, past presidents and presidents-to-be have called home.
Most presidential dwellings are owned by museums or embassies, but a handful, such as the two for sale now, remain in private hands. People who own them or reside in the same neighborhoods say living in the aftermath of fame isn’t always easy.
Businessman and social worker Cameron Knight owns the 200-year-old house on N Street NW in Georgetown where John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, lived before heading to the White House. Tourists and curiosity-seekers have peered into the windows, stolen items from the yard as souvenirs and climbed over the fence to have a look around. People have shone lights into the bedrooms to take nocturnal pictures.