Merry-Go-Round Farm
Our Community
Merry-Go-Round Farm is a unique, residential and equestrian community located in Potomac, Maryland that borders the C&O Canal National Park.  
 
Merry-Go-Round Farm sits on a 204-acre promontory, three miles west of the Great Falls, and boasts majestic views of the Potomac River.  This special community seamlessly integrates a limited number of luxury, custom-built homes into a carefully-preserved natural setting.  The architecture of the homes is tastefully restrained according to guidelines designed by premier area architects. There are only 81 homesites clustered into five separate sections, and homesites average three-quarters of an acre.  The beauty of this design allows for large parcels of land to be set aside and thoughtfully managed for the shared enjoyment of the residents and the area's native flora and fauna.  
 
The common grounds include an equestrian center with two well-maintained stables and ample pasture, miles of forest trails for hiking and riding, three small lakes, and several large rolling fields, perfect for picnics in warmer weather and cross-country skiing or sledding in the snow.  Groundskeepers and barn staff live onsite and tend to the land and the horses under the direction of a Homeowners' Association, of which all the residents are members.    
 
Merry-Go-Round Farm is part of the Montgomery County public school system, and the schools in the Potomac area are among the finest in the nation. There are also many excellent private schools nearby.
 
Amenities
 
  • A community limited to 81 carefully arranged homesites with architectural guidelines and protective covenants 
  • A 3/4 mile shared border with the C & O Canal National Park 
  • Gorgeous views of the Potomac River
  • An equestrian center for horse boarding, riding and lessons, with priority given to homeowners
  • Extensive shared grounds with miles of hiking and riding trails
  • An experienced staff of groundskeepers and barn hands that live on-site under the supervision of a resident Farm Manager
  • Abundant wildlife including deer, foxes, turtles, frogs and many different bird species
  • Small lakes and streams 
  • Lighted tennis courts
  • An exercise gym
 
History
 
The community of Merry-Go-Round Farm is the brainchild and legacy of two prominent Washingtonians, Tyler and Elizabeth "Bess" Abell.  The farm has a rich history rooted in the rough-and-tumble world of Washington, D.C. politics and journalism.  
 
The land where Merry-Go-Round Farm now sits was originally bought as a 280-acre parcel in 1930 by Eleanor Josephine Medill Patterson.  Patterson, or "Cissy" as she was known, was a prominent American journalist and newspaper editor, publisher and owner.  Patterson was one of the first women to head a major daily newspaper, The Washington Times-Herald.  Patterson married Count Josef Gizycka, a nobleman from Russian Poland, and, in 1905, they had one daughter, Countess Felicia Gizycka.  Both Patterson and her daughter lived dramatic and flamboyant lives that have been chronicled extensively in many books and articles.  
 
In 1925, Countess Gizycka married Andrew ("Drew") Russell Pearson.  Drew Pearson first came to D.C. in the 1920s to work as a journalist for The Baltimore Sun, where he rose to become Chief Correspondent of its Washington bureau.  Although his marriage to Gizycka lasted only three years, they had one child, Ellen, and Pearson remained friends with his mother-in-law for a time after the divorce.  Pearson found the Potomac property for Patterson, which she bought for $50,000.  Patterson later gave the land in trust to Pearson for her granddaughter, Ellen. 
 
From 1931-32, Pearson co-wrote two books that were considered "muckraking" accounts of the lives of prominent D.C. politicians.  Washington Merry-Go-Round and More Merry-Go-Round were published anonymously, but it was later discovered that Pearson was one of the authors, and he was fired from The Baltimore Sun.  Shortly thereafter, Pearson began writing a daily political column called the "Washington Merry-Go-Round" that was published in Patterson's Washington Times-Herald and helped launch Pearson's long career as a famous D.C. political commentator, columnist and radio personality.  
 
Pearson bought the Potomac land from his daughter Ellen.  He built a farmhouse on the property in 1939 at the request of Luvie Moore, who became his second wife in 1936, and who had dreamed of owning a country home.  Moore had a son from a previous marriage, Tyler Abell.  The Pearson family owned a home in Georgetown and used Merry-Go-Round Farm as a weekend getaway.   Over the years, Merry-Go-Round Farm was a frequent host to U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court justices, ambassadors, senators, congressmen and movie stars, including President Lyndon Johnson, Chief Justice Earl Warren, and actress Rita Hayworth, to name just a few. 
 
During World War II, Pearson started a working dairy at the farm.  The first 100 cows were delivered to the farm when Tyler was ten years old and his parents were vacationing, leaving him and the family maid to receive "a stampede" of cows on their own.  A major by-product of the cows was manure, which Pearson sold to Hechingers hardware stores and directly from the farm as "Drew Pearson's Best Manure -- All Cow, No Bull!"   The farm also produced beans, which were originally sold to Jenkins Cannery of Frederick, Maryland.  When Jenkins stopped buying the beans, Pearson became the first farmer in the area to offer a "Pick-Your-Own" opportunity.  To market the beans, Pearson ran an add in the Washington Post, offering as many beans as a person could pick for $1. Pearson's marketing was so successful that people came from all over to pick the beans, causing the Montgomery County police to complain about traffic congestion on River Road.  Also, Peason raised the price to $1 per bushel.  
 
In 1955, Tyler married Elizabeth "Bess" Clements, daughter of Earle Clements.  Mr. Clements served as Governor of Kentucky and later as a U.S. Senator, for a time acting as Democratic Majority Leader.  Tyler and Bess met at the Kentucky Derby and eloped after a New Year's party.  After his marriage to Bess, Tyler joined the Army.  He then studied law and practiced both in government for the Johnson Administration and for a major D.C. law firm. Tyler served as Assistant Postmaster General and as Chief of Protocol.  Bess also served in a number of prominent political positions, including Assistant to Lady Bird Johnson and White House Social Secretary, Executive Director of the Democratic Governors' Conference, and Executive Assistant to Joan Mondale in the Office of the Vice-President.  She later established a public relations firm.    
 
In 1969, Pearson died, leaving the farm to Luvie.  Tyler took over daily operation of the farm, ending the dairy business and focusing on beef production.  Eventually, the Abells decided to develop the farm as residential community, but only in a manner that would preserve the special beauty of the land. They enlisted the help of local architect Colden ("Coke") Florance as well as noted landscape design consultant Edward Alexander.  Starting in 1990, when other developers in Potomac were building "McMansions" with little regard to architectural style or land management, the Abells created the Merry-Go-Round Farm community.  True to its past, the beauty and special amenities of Merry-Go-Round Farm continue to attract many D.C. notables.  
 
Tyler and Bess at Merry-Go-Round Farm in 2012