$20M retreat to be sold
Oct. 2, 2003
Chris Patterson
Staff Writer

submitted photo

Trout Run, a weekend retreat for former presidents and dignitaries, is home to five houses, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a three-car garage and parking for 50 cars. The property goes on sale later this month.

With only a $100,000 cashier's check, you, too, can bid on a $20 million property for sale in Thurmont, once a weekend destination for movie stars and U.S. presidents.

The 453-acre wooded retreat will be auctioned at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23. Potential bidders must come to the property on Catoctin Hollow Road with check in hand, according to auction house president William Bone.

Bone's company, The National Auction Group Inc. based in Gadsden, Ala., will auction the fishing retreat.

Aside from amazing views of pristine wilderness, the property offers five houses, a main lodge, an Olympic-size swimming pool and bathhouse, tennis courts, shuffleboard and basketball courts, a three-car garage, "extensive flagstone patios and outdoor lighting" and "hard-surface parking for 50 cars," according to marketing materials provided by public relations company Marshall & Associates.

Perhaps the most alluring feature of the property is a roughly 2-mile portion of Little Hunting Creek filled with wild trout that runs through the center of the property, Bone said.

Of course, another of the appealing aspects of the property, and one that may help yield a handsome price, is the property's past.

Bone said the property was originally used by President Herbert Hoover as a retreat to practice his favorite hobby -- fly fishing.

It was such a great fishing spot that it was frequently visited by the rich and famous.

Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower and Winston Churchill were just a few of the property's notable guests, Bone said. Eisenhower reportedly painted some of his watercolors at the property.

The bridge that runs across the creek from the main lodge to the Hoover House was used by Roosevelt to fish while in his wheelchair, Bone said. In fact, Roosevelt reportedly used the retreat to relax during World War II. Radio transmissions from the property were disguised to make it appear he was onboard a ship, Bone said. The story goes that the ruse worked only until Churchill went to a nightclub in Thurmont one night and got drunk.

"It sort of blew their cover," he said.

Current property owner Howard E. Haugerud, 79, is a former publisher of Stars and Stripes military publication.

In an e-mail, Haugerud wrote that he does not now nor has he ever lived at Trout Run. The property is only a "fishing and hunting weekend retreat," he said, and he is selling it due to his wife Tomajean's health issues.

"It has become difficult for Tomajean to navigate steps and walk for more than short distances," he wrote.

"I find being at Trout Run much less enjoyable when she cannot be there to share the beautiful surroundings."

Bone said the auction would be an "absolute auction," meaning the property will be sold to the highest bidder with no minimum required.