In the winter of 1963, John and Jacqueline Kennedy purchased 39 acres in Middleburg, VA. While the president preferred the family home in Hyannis, MA, the first lady wanted the pastoral land to pursue her love of horseback riding.
They finished the home in October 1963 and spent only two weekends there. The family last visited on Nov. 10, 1963, just 12 days before JFK was assassinated in Dallas. Jacqueline withdrew to the home after his death to grieve, but within a year, she sold the estate.
Now three owners and 50 years later, the custom estate has entered the news cycle again. Nicknamed Wexford — in honor of the Irish county where the Kennedy family traces its roots — the house is listed for $10.995 million.
The house has remained mostly untouched and largely anonymous in its spot overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. The last coverage of the sprawling ranch appears in a news article from the Milwaukee Journal in 1968, describing a tour of the property by owners Mr. and Mrs. Q.N. Yng-Wong to benefit a church the Kennedys were building in the area. Subsequent owners added on acreage, but the structure of the home — custom designed by the Kennedys — has remained largely the same.
“You see photos of the home — videos of them being there — and to see it now, it looks the same,” said listing agent Patricia Burns.
Compared with the Kennedy Compound, which dominates 6 acres along Cape Cod, Wexford is rather simple. And that’s exactly how Jacqueline wanted it. She was quoted as saying:
“It’s the only house that Jack and I ever built together, and I designed it all myself … I don’t want it exploited and photographed all over the place, just because it was ours.”
Spanning 15 rooms and 5,055 square feet, the home is a stucco, mid-century ranch with parquet floors, built-in cabinets and bookshelves and 9-foot ceilings. Sliding glass doors open to the patio, a sloping lawn and, once upon a time, a swing set for Caroline and John F. Kennedy Jr.
The home still holds an underground bunker and dependencies, designed for use by Secret Service personnel. This feature may be what appealed to Ronald Reagan, who leased the home, which is only an hour from Washington, DC, during the 1980 presidential election campaign.
Burns hopes this history is appreciated by future owners.
“I’m sort of a child of that time period, and I remember when Kennedy was assassinated and now I have this listing 50 years later,” she said. “It’s amazing. We would all like to keep it as original as possible, and keep it from being developed. We’re hoping someone that loves the Kennedys would want to buy the house.”
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