THIS OLD HOUSE

HOUSES James C. Parmelee -- The Causeway in Washington, D.C.
William Samuel, Samuel, Samuel, Ezra. Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John

 

James (1855-1931) and wife Alice (Maury) (1863-1940) lived at The Causeway, at Klingle Road and Macomb Street, near the National Cathedral.

He was a Cleveland businessman and amassed a fortune of well over $1 million. Childless, the couple willed their estate to various schools, hospitals and charities. Their extensive art collection was given to the Corcoran Gallery and the Cleveland Art Museum. Furniture was given to the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Their hansom cab is part of the Smithsonian collection.

Built in 1912 by architect Charles Adam Platt for the Parmelees, the Causeway was a 20-acre estate with open fields, woodlands, stone bridges, formal gardens, a pond, and meandering streams in the Cleveland Park neighborhood. Now a part of the Washington International School, the estate hearkens back to when the neighborhood was comprised of farms, summer houses, and isolated suburban estates. The house itself is a three-story, neo-Georgian mansion with a foyer featuring pillars, high ceilings, and an ivory marble floor.

In 1940, former Ambassador Joseph Davies and his wife, Marjorie Merriweather Post, purchased the estate upon their return from the Soviet Union. (Davis also served as U.S. ambassador to Belgium, and was chairman of Franklin D. Roosevelt's third inaugural.) The Davies family renamed it Tregaron, which is Welsh for village of three wells. So enamored with Russia, they added a dacha, among other Russian features, to the estate.

After Davies' death in 1958, the estate was vacant for quite some time. Suggestions for use of the estate ranged from the home of the vice president, an Embassy, a center for the study of international affairs, or a retreat center. In 1980, the Washington International School purchased six of the 20 acres, and the Tregaron Limited Partnership, purchased the other 14 acres. The estate was listed on the D.C. Preservation League's Most Endangered Places in 2005. The next year, the school and the Tregaron Conservancy reached an agreement so that 13 acres is conserved as open green space, managed by conservatory.

These photos are from 1918.

From left to right are a view of the terrace, the flower garden and gardener's cottage, and the gate to the flower garden.