Lafayette Parker “Pick” Temple, a World War II veteran, worked for the Census Bureau when the Library of Congress asked him to record railroad and other folk songs. After appearing on radio talent shows in Washington and Baltimore, Temple starred in his own show.
“Pick Temple’s Giant Ranch” debuted in 1948 on WTOP — now WUSA (Channel 9). The show was later broadcast on WTTG (Channel 5) and wound up on WMAL — now WJLA (Channel 7), where Temple said his final “Heidi, pardner.” Heidi was a line of baked goods that show-sponsor Giant Food sold.
Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region
Wearing his trademark cowboy suit, Temple was joined by his border collie, Lady, and his Shetland pony, Piccolo, both of which stayed with him at his home in Kensington, and an in-studio audience of nearly 50 youngsters, some of whom were famous. Julie and Tricia Nixon, daughters of then-Vice President Richard Nixon, rode Piccolo around the WTTG studios.
Before the show’s end in 1961, more than a quarter-million children joined the “Giant Rangers.” Temple died in 1991 at age 80.
DeCamp is the third owner of the home since Temple built it in 1952. Temple lived there until 1964.
“It happens all the time,” DeCamp said. “Someone will find out I’m the owner of the house and they get real excited, animated. It’s really cool.”
Although the house has been updated through the years, hints of Temple remain. Temple was a train enthusiast. As a child, he rode freight trains around the Appalachians. His love of trains remains evident in the home. Train tiles surround the kitchen fireplace. When remodeling one of the bathrooms, DeCamp uncovered train wallpaper. There’s also an image of a train in the linoleum flooring in the basement.
DeCamp said previous owners found box after box in the attic of Pick Temple ranger cards.
“I really wish I was able to find those,” he said. “I am truly going to miss this house. I just love the house. It’s got unique charm.”
The five-bedroom, five-bathroom, 2,976-square-foot home is listed at $979,000.
Listing: 9604 Old Spring Rd., Kensington, Md.
Listing agent: Gary and Diane Ditto, Long & Foster
Previous House of the Week