Cady-Lee Guestbook

Please share your thoughts, memories, comments or stories about the Cady-Lee! Email them to us at Comments will be posted without full names or email addresses.
Did you work on the application to put the Cady-Lee on the National Historic Register?
Did you attend events at the Cady-Lee?
Did the Cady-Lee play some role in your life?
Did you know people who lived in the Cady-Lee?
Did you stop in the street when you first saw it newly painted?

Please help us put together an oral history about this wonderful home...

My parents were tenants of Mary Lee during the mid to late 1940s. They lived in the apartment on the third floor, which had the sleeping porch pictured. Although I have no memories of the apartment (I was born in 1948 and they moved out to a house in Silver Spring in 1949), I do have pictures taken of me on that porch. Mrs. Lee was a dear old lady and we used to go and visit with her and her sister, Mrs. Grounsel (I doubt if the spelling is correct but that is how her name sounded). Mrs. Lee used to host very elegant dinners in the dining room and I remember built-in china cabinets and drawers for linens. I remember the beautiful stained glass window on the stair landing between the first and second floors, and the garages that once stood behind the house near the railroad tracks.
My husband and I moved to Lancaster, PA, 7 years ago and I had wanted to visit the house and see the restoration that had taken place and perhaps view the apartment on the third floor, but never did accomplish that. When I read that the home was falling in to disrepair, I was quite saddened.
Today, to my joy, I read the article in the Washington Post that this beautiful home was restored to her original beauty. I couldn't wait to call my dad and let him know. He and my mother had been well acquainted with Dr. Mattingly and his family so many years ago and he really enjoyed hearing that there is a surviving relative. Thank you for taking this gracious home and making it a home once again!
- Betsy L.

I moved into the area about 31 years ago. My husband and I were driving around to familiarize ourselves with the area. The moment I saw the house standing on the hill like some grand lady, I recognized it as the perfect house that had appeared in my dreams many times. Although I loved my new house on Piney Branch Road, the Cady-Lee mansion was clearly in a realm all its own. For many years, whenever I passed the house, I got special joy in drinking in the view of it, and imagining what it looked like inside. When the recent yard sale was held, I finally had my chance to go inside. Of course I did not miss out on the chance to purchase a few keepsakes for my curio cabinets...I regret that I was somehow unaware of the recent open house after the restoration. I know it was absolutely beautiful. Oh well, maybe someday I'll get another chance. But I know for sure that I will continue to admire it from afar as I ride by... and keep it in my dreams.
- Anonymous

When I bought my home [near the Cady-Lee on Eastern] about 1976, I could have for $500 more bought the Cady-Lee mansion. We wanted to get our sons out of Prince Georges Public Schools and my wife immediately said "no" to the thought of putting them in a District of Columbia School.
I enjoy doing a lot of up keep on a small older home, but the thought of taking on the Cady Lee as a "hobby" was just too much.
It was painted shortly after I moved into my home, probably about 1977. It changed from a peeling, grey/white to the rust/amber tones which I enjoyed for over twenty years.
As the flat white paint replaced the "antiqued" tones I had enjoyed for two decades, I was shocked. But as I reflect, the house was probably an off-white/grey for most of its history. The added touches of maroon, dark grey are a great improvement from what I recall in 1976.
Even though my elder son Andrew played with a resident son his age whose parents owned the house, I had only been in the library once, and not in the rest of the home.
I'd always wondered what the view from the third floor balcony was like. It had been part of the rented apartment most of the years I lived nearby. In 2000, thanks to a meeting relating to the possibility of part of the rear yard being taken for a bike trail, I saw the entire house, including a long desired visit to the balcony porch.
The low railings immediately left me desiring another, higher ring of protection. The low height of the porch ceiling was an unusual feature. As often as I might have wanted to just sit and enjoy relaxing from that porch, my first and only visit to it left me with an uncomfortable feeling about its height — and I'm not one to usually be bothered by heights.
As I once again walked through the house in January 2002, it's the views to the south and west that seem more interesting, rather than from the balcony overlooking Piney Branch.
I was delighted to discover the full height of the basement ceiling. And to discover the area that once was the kitchen, reminding me of a relative's Georgian home in England with a basement kitchen.
What will become of the basement with its many potentials for additional usable space with windows? Could shade gardens be built under the porch floors to make the views from the basement a true delight?
I hope someday to see a few magnolias planted on the property, as I have managed to do on other properties in this block of Eastern Avenue, which was originally called Magnolia.
As a user of bike trails for over twenty-five years, I oppose the east route of the proposed bike trail as the section just north of Piney Brach might have to be narrowed because of limited space. I've studied the possibility of a west-of-the-tracks route. The biggest problem is Montgomery Garden Apartment, whose owner, Mr. Larry Ravitz, when I spoke with him said he would give some of its limited space for the bike trail.
- Raymond A.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Phipps,
My sister and I enjoyed your open house on the 27th (we were the ones in the green and purple skirts!) and thank you for the opportunity to visit your wonderful home. We are fledgling "restorers" who are currently attempting to beautify our own homes, and truly appreciate the craftmanship, planning, hard work and love that goes into a project.
As I rode the Metro to work each day from May till the end of December, I watched the progress (ever so briefly as it flew by) of the restoration. My husband works at Montgomery College, so when I visited him, I would drive by and "sneak a peek." All I can say now after seeing the finished piece is a loud and resounding "BRAVO!" What a labor of love — it truly shows.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to visit. Best of luck in future projects!
- Ethel A.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Phipps:
I was delighted to see the article in this morning's Washington Post about the Cady-Lee mansion that you have so beautifully restored. Actually, I'd been meaning to drop off a thank you note at the house for many months now to let you know that your efforts affect so many people in so many ways. I could never expect to buy such a house, nor would it really suit my particular needs, but there have been many moments since last summer that I have passed your house and my spirits have been lifted to see this grand old lady get the attention she deserves.
All that peeling paint being scraped away! Careful repair of rotting porch railings. The dullest drab brown giving way to a new color scheme that I love for its lightness and subtle differences in shade. And I clucked with sympathy when I saw the first white paint trim bleed in the rain over the newly painted green shingles. But it was redone. Then I began to notice the intriguing shape of the shingles and the matching patterns of that wonderful slate roof. I could only imagine the kind of work going on inside the house, but I knew it needed work badly from seeing the inside a few years ago when it was on the annual Takoma Park House Tour.
In the days immediately following 9/11, the world was a horribly grim and insecure place, and there was one day upon reading the latest newspaper accounts on the Metro that I could not keep from weeping. Tears streamed down my face and throat as I left the Metro. I don't think I was the only one. Yet in the middle of that difficult time, as I once again passed the house, there was a slight sense of comfort and reassurance that there are people who have the resources and care enough to... set things right, I guess, yes, to restore order and beauty in the world.
Thank you for your good work.
I hope that whoever buys your house will appreciate your efforts and realize that maintaining this beautiful old lady is a benefit to all who pass.
- Bonnie G.

I would drive by this beautiful house everyday going home from work. And would wonder who owned this beautiful home. I think what really caught my attention was the Christmas lights over the holidays — it was to die for [smile]. All I could say was, "Wow, look at that!" I have recently noticed a sign out front. Now I know this is a historical mansion. Thanks for the sign.
- Anonymous