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Exploring 2446 Belmont Road NW – Home of the Obamas and Former Residence of a Navy Radio Pioneer

Take an in-depth look at 2446 Belmont Road NW, the former home of the Obamas and Captain Charles Maddox, a military radio pioneer. Learn about the history of this lovely Kalorama home and its previous owners.
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UPDATE: According to recent reports, the Obamas will stick around the District and move into this lovely Kalorama home.

For a cool $6.5 mil, this beauty of a home can be yours. Seriously though, this is an amazing house with nine bedrooms and over 8,000 square feet. It dates back to 1928 and has been on the market for almost a year. A house like this comes on the market once in a generation, and there aren’t too many people who can drop that amount of money on a home. (When Google decides to buy Ghosts of DC, I will buy a similar house in Kalorama.)

2446 Belmont Road NW
2446 Belmont Road NW

So, let’s do our first real estate version of “If Walls Could Talk.” Also, no disclosure necessary, because this isn’t sponsored by the real estate agent (though I wouldn’t be opposed to that in the future, provided that the property was interesting). I’ve biked by this a number of times and Mrs. Ghost and I were exploring Kalorama to find a cool home to write about. But, if you are the agent (or know the agent), I would love a tour of the home. Somebody put the word out and email me.

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Building permit for brick dwelling

The first mention in the newspaper of the property is on March 4th, 1928. The following was listed in the Washington Post that day.

F. B. Moran McConihe, to erect two-story and basement brick and hollow tile dwelling, 2446 Belmont road northwest; estimated cost, $50,000.

I’m pretty sure the powder room costs that amount today.

For sale

Want to be the first resident of 2446 Belmont Road? If you saw the following advertisement in the Washington Post on December 28th, 1928, you might have had that chance. I’m pretty sure the first resident did see this ad.

advertisement for 2446 Belmont Road - December 28th, 1928 (Washington Post)
advertisement for 2446 Belmont Road – December 28th, 1928 (Washington Post)

It was still on the market in the late spring of the following year, when this ad ran on May 12th, 1929 in the Washington Post.

2446 Belmont Road advertisement - May 12th, 1929 (Washington Post)
2446 Belmont Road advertisement – May 12th, 1929 (Washington Post)

Captain Charles Maddox, a military radio pioneer

Captain Charles H. Maddox
Captain Charles H. Maddox

On September 24th, 1964, the Washington Post published an obituary for Charles Maddox, long-time resident (over three decades) of 2446 Belmont Rd. NW.

Capt. Charles Hamilton Maddox (USN-Ret.), who was a pioneer in the uses of radio on naval ships and aircraft and a veteran of both World Wars, died of pneumonia Tuesday at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He was 78.

In 1912, Capt. Maddox designed and tested in flight the first successful radio equipment used in naval aircraft.

During World War I, he served on the staff of the Pacific Fleet commander as radio officer and was radio superintendent for the San Francisco district. He also served as a radio officer with naval forces operating in the Atlantic.

Capt. Maddox, a native of Hamilton, Ont., was a member of the 1909 class of the United States Naval Academy and later attended Harvard Graduate School of Applied Science and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a life member of the Institute of Radio Engineers.

In the Washington area, he was a member of the Army and Navy Club, the Metropolitan Club and the Chevy Chase Country Club. He also was active in the New York Yacht Club.

It’s unclear to me how a military man could afford such a massive and opulent home.

Muriel Maddox

The other family member frequently mentioned in the newspaper was his young daughter, Muriel. Below is a drawing she did, published by the Washington Post on October 4th, 1931.

"A Windy Day" by Muriel Maddox (Washington Post)
“A Windy Day” by Muriel Maddox (Washington Post)
Muriel Maddox - November 21st, 1949 (Washington Post)
Muriel Maddox – November 21st, 1949 (Washington Post)

Muriel ended up to be quite a beautiful woman, a young Washington debutante in 1940 (when those social events were still fashionable). Her social debut was in August of that year, up in Newport, Rhode Island, where the family had a second home (wow, how much money did this guy have?).

Muriel ended up making a film debut in “The Men” with Marlon Brando and went on to a few more roles in movies, but never the star. She did, however, find success as a writer of romance novels.

She passed away in 2010 at the age of 89.

Here are a couple other photos of the property.

2446 Belmont Rd. NW
2446 Belmont Rd. NW
2446 Belmont Rd. NW
2446 Belmont Rd. NW
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