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Hickory Hill (McLean, Virginia)

Hickory Hill
Side view of a white, masonry two-and-a-half story house
Hickory Hill in June 2007
Hickory Hill (McLean, Virginia) is located in Virginia
Location 1147 Chain Bridge Road
McLean, Virginia
Governing body Private
Part of Langley Fork Historic District (#82001818[1])
Designated CP October 19, 1982

Hickory Hill is a large brick house in McLean, Virginia, in the United States, owned by a succession of notable public figures. Architectural historians, noting that an 1865 ordinance map of the area does not indicate the house, date it to shortly after the American Civil War, circa 1870.

James Patrick "Pat" Speer, a Washington D.C. dentist, lived at Hickory Hill, along with his wife Susan Virginia "Jenny" Morgan Speer. They had 5 children living with them in the home at the time of the 1920 census; their eldest daughter had already married and moved away. It should also be noted that Pat practiced dentistry in Washington D.C., in the same office where Clara Barton had previously conducted her work with Civil War veterans and their families. This was confirmed by property records for the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the 1920 census, and the employment address and home address listed for Pat on his World War I draft registration.

In July 1941 Hickory Hill became the home of newly appointed United States Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson and his wife, Irene, who, in 1955, after his death, sold Hickory Hill to United States Senator John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline. After the 1956 Democratic National Convention, the Kennedys sold the house to John's brother Robert F. Kennedy and his wife, Ethel, who had a growing family (eventually eleven children). While he lived at Hickory Hill, Robert Kennedy became Attorney General of the United States, in 1961; a United States Senator, in 1965; and a presidential candidate, in 1968.

The 5.6-acre (2.3 ha) property was part of an 88-acre (36 ha) tract acquired in 1846 by George Walter, who built several houses in the area prior to his death in 1890. The core of the house itself originally featured an encircling verandah, topped by a mansard roof. Extensively remodeled in 1931, largely to its current configuration, Hickory Hill received a north wing addition by the Kennedy family in 1964.[2]

Expanded by Robert Kennedy's family, the house was placed on the market in 2004 at an asking price of $25 million and subsequently withdrawn from the market in November 2008. Sold in December 2009 to a Virginia businessman for $8.25 million,[3][4][5][6] Hickory Hill underwent a complete renovation, ending in the fall of 2013.

The house, along with eleven other historic structures, was designated as a contributing property to the Langley Fork Historic District by the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places on October 19, 1982.[1][2][7]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ a b Langley Fork HIstoric District 1982 Final Nomination
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Sales History, Fairfax County government
  5. ^ Sales History, Fairfax County government (Enter map number 0311 01 0001)
  6. ^ Zillow
  7. ^ Inventory Master List February 2009
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