- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2001

A Victorian house, 114 years old, is on the market for $649,900 in Rockville's historic district. The four-bedroom house was owned by Arthur King, an attorney, and his wife, Wilma, an artist, both now deceased.

With more than a half-acre, it includes two outbuildings. One is a detached garage with a workshop and second-floor storage room. The second is a two-story building known as an annex. Mr. King used the first floor of the annex as his law office. Mrs. King used the second floor as an art studio.

The King family, with four daughters and a son, filled the main house. The Kings bought the property in 1963.

"I had my own room," says Andy Dickerson, one of the Kings' daughters. "I was in sixth grade when the family moved in. In 1969," she says, "I had my wedding reception in the yard."

Now, there is more traffic on the roads, she says, but because it is in the historic district, the neighborhood has not changed. She says she likes the neighborhood so much that she still lives there.

"On getting married, I moved across the street, and I've been there for 31 years," Mrs. Dickerson says.

While it had a number of illustrious previous owners, her parents' house is known as the King House. Her parents were members of Peerless Rockville, the city's historic preservation society, Mrs. Dickerson says. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The house has a center hall extending from the front door to the rear. A side door in the entry foyer leads to a covered porch at the front of the house. That side door and the front and back doors all have transom windows.

A formal staircase rises from the hall, with a newel post at the bottom and a decorative banister of turned spindles that curves around and continues as a railing along the second-floor hall.

Formal living and dining rooms flank the first-floor hall.

A den lies behind the living room, and a modern kitchen behind the dining room. A large pass-through links the dining room and kitchen, and a small pass-through connects the living room and den. The den at one time before the Kings owned the house served as a barroom.

Newly refinished oak floors have been installed throughout the house except in the kitchen and bathrooms, which have new off-white vinyl flooring. All the walls are painted white.

A brick fireplace with a wood mantelpiece and wood-paneled accent wall warm the living room. Next to the fireplace is a large built-in bookcase with cabinets below. The kitchen has a peninsula cook top, new dishwasher and new off-white countertops, as well as two refrigerators, one new and the other 2 years old. One of the refrigerators is in a kitchenette in the annex.

The laundry room also is in the annex. The house has a small pantry off the kitchen. The first floor also has a powder room.

Four bedrooms and two full baths are on the second floor. Also on the second floor is a sitting room that Mrs. Dickerson says served as a nursery for her brother when he was a baby. The sitting room is connected to one of the bedrooms but also has its own French door to the hall.

Especially evocative of old Rockville is a screened sleeping porch at the rear of the second floor.

The house and annex are warmed by an oil furnace with hot-water heat. Electric central air conditioning is newly installed. A small wood-burning stove heats the garage workshop.

Between the house and the annex is a covered brick patio with a picnic table just outside the back door. "That's where we had coffee every day," Mrs. Dickerson says. A garden bench and small table are located in the back yard.

The yard boasts a huge old oak tree and a number of specimen plants.

According to Peerless Rockville, the land for the house was purchased in 1885 for $800 by Virginia Daingerfield Hodges.

The historic district was a new subdivision then and Rockville was served by a newly completed railroad. Miss Hodges "built the typical Victorian house as a boarding house with a two-story annex, which may have been used for a kitchen in the rear," Peerless Rockville reports.

After her death, the house went to Miss Hodges' sister Maria, "who immediately sold it to Professor William Pinckney Mason for $4,300," according to Peerless Rockville. Mr. Mason was headmaster of a school known as the Rockville Academy from 1890 to 1910. He "was the descendant of George Mason of Gunston Hall, Va., and William Pinckney, attorney general of the United States under President Madison," according to a Peerless Rockville account. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1860, joined the Confederate navy and "was wounded while serving aboard the ironclad Merrimac," the account says.

The Rockville property remained in the Mason family until 1941, when it was purchased by a man named Buell Gardner. Mr. Gardner sold it to a family named Bartter in 1951, and that family sold it to the Kings, according to Peerless Rockville.


Address: 217 W. Montgomery Ave., Rockville

Community: Rockville historic district

Age: Built 1887

Price: $649,900

Size: 2,264 finished square feet in the house plus 648 finished square feet in the annex on lot of more than one-half acre

Taxes: $2,943

Exterior features: Historic Victorian with covered porch in front, covered brick patio at rear and second-floor screened sleeping porch; detached two-story annex and detached one-car garage with workshop

Interior features: Entry foyer, formal living and dining rooms, first-floor den, modern kitchen, four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths, second-floor sitting room; home office, kitchenette, laundry, second-floor studio and unfinished cellar in the annex; oil hot-water heat, new electric central air conditioning

Amenities: Fireplace, oak flooring, bay window, three transom windows, five ceiling fan-light fixtures, built-in shelves, built-in mirrors, wood-burning stove in the garage

Schools: Beall Elementary, Julius West Middle, Richard Montgomery High

Close by: About a mile to shopping, restaurants and movies in downtown Rockville; one mile to I-270 at the Route 28 interchange; one mile to the Rockville Metro, MARC and Amtrak stations; about two miles to the Rockville campus of Montgomery College

Open house: 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday

Contact: Margaret Walsh May of Weichert Realtors, 301/468-1600, 301/279-0109 or 301/674-7748 (cell phone)

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