This circa 1891 Queen Anne house predates Garrett Park, and its original owner played a role in the town’s founding. It is one of 34 houses in Garrett Park that were built before the town’s origination and are still standing.
William L. Soleau served nearly 50 years in the federal government, starting as a clerk in the pension office. In 1903, he helped organize the Department of Commerce and Labor. He later became comptroller of the U.S. Housing Corp. But his most significant contribution may have been ridding Garrett Park of a cesspool
According to the book “Garrett Park: A history of the town from its beginnings to 1970,” concerns that Grace Sprigg’s cesspool would contaminate nearby wells caused the town fathers to act. The Maryland General Assembly passed a special act in 1898, allowing the town to incorporate. A mayor and four council members were elected, and Soleau was appointed health officer. The town council’s first order of business was to prohibit cesspools and require “above-ground privies.” Spriggs fought the ruling, but she lost and eventually left town
1 of 111 Full Screen Autoplay Close Skip Ad × Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region View Photos The Washington Post’s picks of distinguished local homes on the market. Caption The Washington Post’s picks of distinguished local homes on the market. HomeVisit/HomeVisit Buy Photo Wait 1 second to continue. Despite his victory, Soleau was one of the few owners of this house who didn’t stay long. By 1911, he had moved to California to become comptroller for Union Oil. In 1920, Bernard B. Donnelly, a Navy commander and veteran of the Spanish-American and First World wars, bought the house. Donnelly, whose family lived in the home for the next 40 years, was a world traveler. He was often accompanied on his trips by Vladimir Perfilieff, a captain in the czar’s Imperial Russian Army who after immigrating to the United States in 1920 became an artist and explorer
The house became a depository for Perfilieff’s artworks and Donnelly’s artifacts, including a mummy, a coat of armor, various weapons and elephant tusks. Subsequent owners sold or donated the treasures, but some of Perfilieff’s sketches remain in the home as does one of Donnelly’s trunks
The current owners, Jean and Michael Starr, bought the house from Warren and Felice Kornberg in 1993. The Kornbergs owned the home for 24 years before moving into the house next door
Garrett Park was designated as an arboretum in 1977 because of its great variety of trees, and the house takes advantage of its wooded surroundings. (HomeVisit) The Starrs hired an architect who specialized in Queen Anne houses to restore much of the character that had been stripped away or covered up over the years. They painstakingly refurbished the house to its original grandeur, replicating what had been changed or was missing and preserving as many original features as they could
Although the three-sided wraparound porch — a trademark of Queen Anne houses — is her favorite part, Jean Starr says she also loves the architectural details — the Victorian wood corner guards, the bull’s eye trim around the windows and doors, the pocket doors and the ornately carved wood fireplace mantels. The Starrs carried over many of these details when they put an addition on the back of the house
Garrett Park was designated as an arboretum in 1977 because of its great variety of trees, and the house takes advantage of its wooded surroundings. The slopping street next to the house is known as “Donnelly’s Hill” and is closed off during snowstorms to allow residents to go sledding
Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the indoor and outdoor basketball courts next to the house. The 750-square-foot heated space can also hold four cars
The five-bedroom, six-bathroom, 6,144-square-foot house is listed at $1.8 million
Listing: 11019 Kenilworth Ave., Garrett Park, Md.
Listing agent: Carole Egloff, Long & Foster
Previous House of the Week