Out of the Attic: Gerald and Betty Ford once called Alexandria home


In 1954, after living in a Parkfairfax apartment, Congressman Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty, needed more space for their young and growing family. They selected a lot in the new Clover community near Janneys Lane and worked with Viktors Purins, of Grand Rapids, on designs for a two-story home. In September 1954, builder R.J. Beech Inc. received the construction permit, and by spring of 1955, when this photograph was taken, the Ford family moved into their new four-bedroom, two-bath home at 514 Crown View Drive.
In December 1973, Jerry Ford became Vice President, following the resignation of Spiro Agnew.  The Fords decided to remain in their Alexandria home, but it had to be renovated to accommodate security measures. To convert the garage into a Secret Service command post, the entrance was bricked up and a bay window was installed for observation purposes. A half-bath and small kitchen appliances were added for the agents use, additional phone lines and bullet-resistant windows were installed, and the driveway had to be altered for the vice presidents armored limousine. 
When the City of Alexandria real estate appraisers inspected the property in July 1974, they noted that they were not allowed in basement. A lot of electronic equipment! but added that they got to meet Mrs. Ford.
A month later, when President Richard Nixon resigned, 514 Crown View Drive became the home of the president of the United States and the first lady. For the first 10 days of his presidency, President Ford continued to live in Alexandria as arrangements were made to move into the White House. After Jimmy Carter was elected president, the Fords sold their home and moved to California. Their former home is now a National Historic Landmark and remains a private residence.