Famed Presidential Fishing Hole Hits the Market

December 19, 2011


Post taken from Yahoo Real Estate

And it looks like a film set.The nearly $9 million listing for Trout Run in Frederick County, MD calls the 453-acre property “a rustic hideaway,” but with its neat cluster of stone buildings set by a perfectly musical stream, the place feels like a museum.

The compound, located in the Catoctin Mountains, is also enchantingly remote, yet so close to Washington, DC that Trout Run could easily be mistaken for the presidential outpost: Camp David.

But wait!

Trout Run is a museum, of sorts. And it has also been a Hollywood set. Episodes of “The West Wing” were filmed there in 2004 when the popular TV series needed a location to replicate the real Camp David.

Famed Presidential Fishing Hole

The Second Camp David

In some ways, the lines between Trout Run and Camp David have long been blurred. Trout Run is within a stone’s throw from Camp David and at least three U.S. presidents preferred Little Hunting Creek — the fishing stream at Trout Run long considered superior to anything on the grounds of the real Camp David.

Talk about a place that has had a stealthy hold on presidential history.

“It was really almost surreal walking into the buildings and seeing all the furniture exactly as it had been,” said Dave DeSantis, an agent with Sotheby’s who now holds the $8.95 million listing.

This is not a case of real estate hyperbole. While National Parks and historical societies have preserved homes and properties belonging to U.S. presidents all over the U.S., Trout Run stands out as one of the most unique and unheralded testaments to presidential escapes.

Famed Presidential Fishing Hole

In 1929, Herbert Hoover cast his line for the first time into trout-rich waters here and now has a cottage named in his honor — and the furniture Hoover sat in still occupies the rooms of that very place.While Trout Run’s handsome buildings, Olympic-size swimming pool, barbecue pavilion, trails, horseback riding and other features make it quite a step up from camping, the rustic property does afford a rare opportunity to get back to nature. The natural centerpiece of the place is a two-mile trout stream that naturalists call one of the best in the Mid-Atlantic region. Throw in some turkey hunting and a tennis court and it’s easy to see how three U.S. presidents found their inner bliss here, as did a slew of other high-ranking friends and celebrities.

Hoover House is one of the five furnished residences on the Thurmont, MD property and has one bedroom and an enclosed heated porch with a view of the creek. It was built in the 1930s and was occasionally used by another U.S. president whose polio could not keep him from casting for trout from his wheelchair.

Famed Presidential Fishing Hole

Presidential Playground

Indeed, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous initials are emblazoned on a sign on a fishing bridge named after him because he, too, fished from its heights in the revered trout run.

Roosevelt reportedly used the retreat to relax during World War II. Radio transmissions from the property were disguised to make it appear he was onboard a ship. The story goes that the ruse worked only until Churchill went to a nightclub in Thurmont one night and got drunk.

Later, the presidential practice of fishing and decompressing at Trout Run was picked up by Dwight Eisenhower, who stole away to the compound that’s about an hour northwest of Washington, DC. Like Hoover and FDR, Eisenhower was also an angler, but he also used the bucolic setting to indulge in his watercolor painting.

In between those presidential visits to this well-kept-secret place, Hollywood stars and other luminaries weren’t far behind. Clark Gable. Claudette Colbert. Betty Davis. Amos ‘n’ Andy. James Cagney. When people traveled so far to get away from the hustle and bustle of politics and show biz, the whole point was to stay awhile.

Famed Presidential Fishing Hole

“During my father-in-law’s time, he had every celebrity since World War II up here,” said the property’s owner, Howard Haugerud.

A former high-ranking State Department official who served under three presidents, including Eisenhower, Haugerud and his wife, Tomajean, have owned the property for 60 years. It was originally the property of Tomajean’s father, Floyd Akers, a gregarious Cadillac dealer in DC who bought the property in 1945 after leasing it previously.

Trout Run’s history as a retreat goes back a bit further, when the land was purchased in 1929 by a staff member for Hoover in the days before Camp David. The cabin that bears Hoover’s name was built later, but during Hoover’s time at Trout Run, he stayed in a tent and, later, a one-room cabin that was destroyed in a tornado. But Hoover’s legacy lives on there. Hoover’s furniture fills the front room of Hoover House.

Trout Run has been for sale on and off for the past eight years. The Haugeruds first attempted to sell the property in 2003 via auction, but Haugerud, a former publisher of the “Stars and Stripes” newspaper, canceled the auction just hours before it was set to start. The original $20 million asking price proved too rich for the market. But whether an organization will look at Trout Run as a suitable retreat, or whether another individual decides to make Trout Run his personal paradise, the property boasts so many unique features — and so much history — it truly makes it hard to compare Trout Run to any other sportsman’s retreat.

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