Three years ago, Hamilton traded in her Malibu mansion, where she had lived since 1995, for Sunnyside Farm, a bucolic homestead in Loudoun County.
Heidi Siebentritt, historic preservation planner for Loudoun County, wrote her master’s thesis on the property. She said the original land grant that became Sunnyside Farm was 467 acres of rolling Piedmont woodlands east of the Catoctin Mountain Ridge. The land includes one of the forks of Clark’s Run, a stream that flows into the Potomac River.
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The property has been lived on and worked on continuously for nearly 250 years, beginning with Isaac Steer. In 1774, Steer and his brother John divided an inheritance from their grandfather into two parcels. John took the northern one; Isaac, the southern one.
Isaac Steer grew several crops and raised livestock on his land, using slave labor. He and his wife, Elizabeth, built a modest log cabin in circa 1775. They added to it as their family expanded. They also built a barn and several out buildings.
When Mary, one of the Steers’ 11 children, married Charles Williams, he reunited the two Steer parcels to create a farm focused on wheat production. Later, under Benjamin Moffett’s ownership, the farm transitioned from slave labor to tenant farming. The Ahalts, whose 88-year stint on the farm began in 1884, focused on cattle farming. They built a large cattle barn and added to the house.
Many of the structures on the property date to the Steers, Williams and Ahalts, and it was the diversity of structures that remain intact that prompted Siebentritt’s study of the farm.
In the National Register of Historic Places registration form, Sunnyside Farm is cited as “an interesting example of an evolutionary 19th-century dwelling. . . . The farm buildings at Sunnyside Farm also represent different periods of 19th-century agrarian architecture.”
Although zoned for agricultural use, the farm ceased production after it was sold to a developer in 1972. Hamilton kept horses, goats and chickens.
The original log cabin has been plastered over and now serves as the library. The bathrooms were renovated in 2005, and the kitchen was updated in 2006. Yet the home’s period charm remains.
“What’s the greatest thing in my mind is the fact that it’s got a lot of history and heritage,” said listing agent Naomi Hattaway of 8th & Home Real Estate & Relocation. “Throughout the years, [the owners have] maintained that while adding amenities that really make it livable.”
Sunnyside Farm is listed at $1.3 million.