John and Annie Glenn’s children have many fond memories of their parents’ home in Bethesda, Md. Son David Glenn remembered his dad sitting on the back deck with a pair of binoculars, tracking satellites as they crossed the night sky. His wife, Karen Fagerstrom, recalled Annie cooking delicious meals of chili, ham loaf and fried chicken in the kitchen. Daughter Lyn Glenn reminisced about the time her father joined her and her friends on the deck in a singalong, his tenor voice harmonizing with theirs on familiar standards.
John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth and was one of the seven original astronauts in NASA’s Mercury program. He served four terms as a U.S. senator from Ohio before retiring in 1998. He died in 2016 at age 95.
The house was built by Ted Visnic, a Rockville home builder, in 1990, toward the end of Glenn’s career in the Senate. Although they weren’t golfers, John and Annie Glenn chose a site that overlooks the 11th hole at TPC at Avenel golf course.
It was the surrounding nature more than golf that attracted the Glenns. The rolling hills, copse of trees and meandering creek gave them a taste of the outdoors while still keeping them close to downtown Washington.
“They enjoyed the wooded beauty of it,” Fagerstrom said. “It’s not so different than the places they grew up in Ohio. Lots of woods, lots of space.”
Annie “knew spring arrived when the hummingbirds came to the window in the kitchen,” Lyn said. “They loved having big windows. The big windows looked out into the woods, and nobody could see in those windows. They were private.”
For John, the drive home along the George Washington Parkway was the perfect way to transition from the hustle and bustle of Capitol Hill to the peace and quiet at Eagle Ridge.
“Driving home from the city was his Walden woods,” Lyn said. “When he came home and walked through the door, it really was his haven. I think that was the spirit of the house, that part of his nature that really was sustained by the house.”
The Glenns had planned to age in the home, and they designed it with that in mind, Lyn explained.
“My Dad had a real sensitivity to age,” she said. “He was chairman of the Senate committee on aging. . . . He wanted to have a place where, if it was appropriate, they could have live-in help.”
Eventually, his work with the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy (later renamed the John Glenn College of Public Affairs) at Ohio State took them back to Ohio.
“It was [the Institute] that really took them away from that home; otherwise they would have been there until the end,” David said.
The house’s design makes it well suited for cozy family get-togethers, as well as large gatherings.
“That was one of the things he expected to be doing there was entertaining [his Senate] staff, to be able to host a large group of people comfortably,” David said.
“I love the memories of the times that we were there, and it was a lively household with people having different types of activities and then all coming to the table together,” Fagerstrom said. “You had long, lingering and lovely conversations.”
The five-bedroom, five-bathroom, 7,996-square-foot home is listed at $1.65 million. An open house is scheduled for Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
Listing: 7208 Eagle Ridge Pl., Bethesda, Md.
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