Former Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-WV) Rock Creek Park mansion is one of Washington’s most luxurious residences. The 1920's era house sits atop a leafy 16-acre estate known as “The Rocks” and has two mailing addresses. The main gate is on Shepherd Street in Crestwood and a second winding driveway cuts across National Parkland to connect with Park Road.
The public got a rare look inside the palatial estate in 2008 when Rockefeller hosted a fundraiser for the Obama campaign. A New York Times reporter was in attendance and described what he saw:
“Our night began at The Rocks, Jay Rockefeller’s chateau away from chateau deep in the hills of Rock Creek Park. To reach the site of this particular Obama fundraiser, you wind along the edges of Rock Creek Park and then turn up a steep, long, hey mistah Rockefeller, how about $3000 to shovel your driveway sort of entryway. … There are oaks and Chestnut trees and then there’s the house, with four Ionic columns and a slate roof and 17 windows across the front and the Rockefellers apparently suffer no critical shortage of guest bedrooms. It is a useful reminder that before the Gates and Bloomberg and Warren B., there was old man John D. Rockefeller, who bequeathed successive generations of descendants a truly astonishing boodle of money.”
Rockefeller bought the 21,000 square foot house for $6.5 million in cash when he was elected to the Senate. Remodeling and the addition of a tennis court, detached pool house, and two four-car garages raised the current value to an estimated $18 million.
The house dates back to 1927, when Daisy Blodgett built it as a wedding present for her daughter Mona. (Interesting side note: Mona’s father-in-law lead construction of the central portion of the Panama Canal). Mona’s husband died in 1982, and with no living children she sold the family estate to the Rockefellers in 1984. She passed away in 1990. Mona and her husband both served in the Army (Nurse, and Corps of Engineers, respectively), so they are buried together with their son in Arlington National Cemetary.
Washington used to have numerous private estates like The Rocks but the majority are now open to the public as museums, art galleries and schools. Hopefully Jay Rockefeller will consider opening up The Rocks to the public if he ever moves back to West Virginia.