One of the Oldest Houses in Montgomery County is in Chevy Chase

Built in 1762 by the Reverend Alexander Williamson, Hayes Manor stands tall behind ornate iron gates on Manor Road. Two sides of the home are made almost entirely of brick headers. To be clear, a brick header is only the short end of the brick, and consequently, the most labor-intensive masonry design. The doorways are framed with projecting concrete quoins — a decorative addition that imply strength, permanence, and expense (source). And the door itself is flanked by two nine-over-nine sash windows set within segmented arches (source).

Stepping inside, you’re greeted by a delicate, open stairway that leads to the sleeping chambers on the second floor. The interior trim consisted of rails and moldings in the formal lower rooms. And for fashion and function, a fireplace was set in every room (source).  

This beautiful brick Georgian house is one of the oldest houses in Chevy Chase.

Williamson, who curated the Anglican parish Rock Creek Church (you know today as St. Paul’s Rock Creek Episcopal Parish), left his small rectory for the 700 acres of forest that he would build Hayes Manor on.

It was the first Georgian house in Montgomery County, most likely influenced by the popularity of the style in Baltimore. The name “Hayes” came from the English manor of William Pitt, the British prime minister who sided with American colonists.

Williamson resigned from his parish in 1776. Maryland had declared itself a “sovereign state” and Williamson was faithful to the British crown, which prevented him from serving under state government. Even so, he was still in demand by his former parishioners, as he was asked back during times of stress or celebration.

In 1786, Williamson passed away. It was then that the property was put up at auction and bought by Williamson’s friend, Georgetown tobacco merchant James Dunlop. The Dunlop family (six generations of them) enjoyed the Hayes manor for 178 years, adding two wings in the time they were there. In 1964, Ellen Charles, granddaughter of Marjorie Merriweather Post, bought Hayes manor from the Dunlops. In 1996, she sold it to the Columbia Foundation of the Columbia Country Club.

In 2002, the Howard Hughes Institute purchased Hayes Manor for a conference center, which it still serves as today (source).

If you want to see what Hayes Manor looked like, visit the Library of Congress website. They’ve got dozens of pictures of the Montgomery County home, inside and out.


Riker, Diane. The Wizard of Chevy Chase.

Image credit: South facade of Hayes Manor in 1961. Russell Jones, photographer, Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress.