|Holt House as it originally appeared circa 1812.|
|North face of Holt House as it appears today. The portico |
porch was filled in and further extended in the 19th century.
The National Zoo excavated down around and in the
basement to create a full height floor for use as offices.
|The southern face of Holt House as it originally appeared. Its large, columned porch overlooked a ravine and what is now Walter Pierce Park. This side of the house can be seen from the park when the leaves are off the trees.|
|The south side of the house as it appears today. The large |
columned porch was also filled in in the 19th century to
create more space in a what was a relatively small
house. (Photo: Hansen)
|The great room in its current condition. |
Walter Mackall came from Calvert County, Maryland, served in the Maryland House of Delegates, and was a wealthy land holder in both Maryland and Washington, DC. His brother, Benjamin Mackall, married Christina Beall, whose father Brooke Beall, was a wealthy shipping merchant in Georgetown, sending great quantities of grain and tobacco to England.
|The great room as it appeared when the house was |
Walter Mackall owned Pretty Prospect for only four years. He may have originally taken an interest in the mills due to his brother Benjamen's connection to the Beall family business. This was also a period of great land speculation in the new Federal City, and the time when large country-style houses were being constructed in Georgetown and on the outskirts of the City. Mackall may have built the present house or expanded a smaller, preexisting house on speculation of increased resale value.
|Original entrance doorway|
|George Johnson's cousin |
Louisa Johnson Adams
It is uncertain who was paying on the mortgage on the mills and the house between 1818 and 1823, but in fear of losing his home, in 1823 George approached his cousin Louisa Johnson Adams (wife of John Quincy Adams) in hopes that John Quincy would acquire the mortgage from the bank. Adams mortgaged his house in order to purchase the mill in 1823 for $20,000, and placed George on salary to continue to manage the mill, with the understanding that George would later repurchase back half the mills from Adams. Within months of purchasing the property, Adams became President.
|John Quincy Adams bought |
the mill from George Johnson.
|Amos Kendall rented Holt|
House from 1838 to 1841.
|Dr. Henry Holt sitting outside the south vestibule in 1889. |
Notice the already dilapidated condition of the house then.
Smithsonian Institution National Zoological Park: A Historic Resource Analysis. Prepared by Gavin Farrell at the Smithsonian Office of Architectural History and Historic Preservation. 2004.
Holt House and Surrounding Properties: A Documented History, Smithsonian Dept of Archival History and Historic Preservation.
Denys Peter Myers. Report on Holt House: A Feasibility Study to Determine Restoration Goals. 1977.
Site visit conducted by DC Historic Designs in 2008.