ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The modest two-story home where Gerald Ford spent nearly 20 years as a Michigan congressman, vice president and 10 days as president is for sale.
The home is owned by the president of an Iranian English-language newspaper company, who has tried to find someone to take it off his hands since September. Javad Khakbaz has dropped the price from $1.05 million to $999,000.
The home, which sits on about a quarter-acre about 8 miles from the White House, is fairly ordinary but has some out-of-the-ordinary elements. Neighbors and former residents tell stories of the steel beams under the driveway to support the limousines and the countless telephone lines installed by Secret Service.
There is also a gold-lettered National Park Service sign affixed to the right of the front door reads: President Gerald R. Ford, Jr. Residence.
"It's a wonderful family home," said real estate agent Joan Dixon. "It has four bedrooms, two full bathrooms and three half-bathrooms ... even if one of them is pink."
The home stands in sharp contrast to the mansion on the U.S. Naval Observatory grounds made available to vice presidents in 1974. But Ford became president before renovations were completed and never lived there.
The home has not seen a long-term resident since Ford moved out. It has been mostly a rental and changed hands twice, Khakbaz said.
One of those renters recalled how he first found the place back in 1996. Brewster Thackeray was 27 when he stumbled across an ad for the former president's house after looking to move out of his Northwest Washington apartment.
"It was super cool," Thackeray said. "I had found a picture of Gerald Ford washing dishes in his sink, but there I was using that very same sink next to the same oven next to that same knotty pine paneling on the walls."
Thackeray was so impressed that he wrote the Fords. Ford wrote him and his roommates back, sending two letters and a signed photograph.
"You have our very best wishes as current occupants of the home we built and loved," one of Ford's letters said. "We were proud of it when we moved in March 1955. Thanks for enjoying it also."
Thackeray said he and his friends had parties in the house, though not necessarily of the black-tie, state dinner variety.
"The best party we had was a toga party," he said. "People came in togas and hung around the pool."