Frank Rackley House, Wilmont Avenue, Washington, Pennsylvania

How did I verify who used to own this 1935 Tudor home in Washington, Pennsylvania? I peeked at classified material; namely Tricia Nixon and Edward Cox's 1971 wedding guest list. Our homeowner was listed just down the page from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.

I'll blame it on the realtor. She teased that the home "has played host to dignitaries and politicians from around the globe," but she didn't say who they were. Now we know that Presidents Nixon and Eisenhower were among them. 

The homeowner, Frank Bailey Rackley (pictured above with Eisenhower), made the news when at age 33 he became the youngest president of a steel industry company, Jessop Steel. He was the office boy who studied metallurgy at night, then went on to win the Horatio Alger award and dine with Presidents.

Following the theme of my blog's "1920's Tudor House Built by a Stove Manufacturer," -- I'm only guessing that Jessop Steel manufactured stove components -- Frank and his wife Marguerite lived in this stately home:

It almost looks like a new build with its tan stone siding, gray trim, and all those peaked rooflines.
Then you notice the herringbone brick pattern within the Tudor battens and the diamond pane windows.

Once you enter the home, its age and character become even more apparent.

This dining room caught my attention because it looks like the decorating has a story behind it.

If it were mine, I'd finish that story like this:

Unlike that period dining room, the kitchen looks to be fairly recently remodeled:

The den, however, still feels a little old-fashioned:

Can't you just imagine an old box TV set where that monitor is now?

As for the guest bathroom, it definitely has the glamor of an earlier era:

Upstairs are six bedrooms and two more bathrooms. The house has 4,301 square feet.

This bedroom inspired me in the same way that the dining room did, so I paired it with the same designer:

The rest of the house has had some updates, but mostly looks like it must have in the Rackleys' time.

In the basement, the yellow wall behind the bar bears the signatures of visiting dignitaries. (If the realtor had taken a close-up, maybe it would have been easier for me to ascertain the homeowner's identity. Just saying.)

Wonder if any of those dignitaries used this outhouse-style toilet?

The side and back yards offer more space for entertaining:

How fun would it be to put your own signature on this charming house? The Old House Dreams listing is here.

P.S. Here's a suggestion to listing agents: instead of hinting that the home was owned by someone famous, just go ahead and tell us who it is. Save me the research. Although, I did enjoy getting to see the more personal side of the Nixon's guest list. Did they remember to send an invitation to Julie and David?

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