An island getaway in the Potomac River is on the market for $15 million
By Kathy Orton
The Washington Post|
Oct 10, 2018 | 9:30 AM
An island getaway sounds great right about now. Who among us hasn’t thought about escaping from the daily grind and the endless news cycle to a peaceful oasis?
Well, now is your chance. And you don’t even have to get on a plane. But you do need a fat bank account.
Chopawamsic, an island in the Potomac River near Marine Corps Base Quantico, has come on the market for the first time in 27 years. The 13-acre property is listed at $15 million.
Private islands on the Potomac do not often come up for sale. However, this is at least the second in less than two years. A chain of three islands farther up the river in Washington County, Md, was put up for sale for $174,900 last year.
Some say that Chopawamsic, sometimes known as Scott’s Island, was first inhabited in 1649. A 1989 article in The Washington Post claims that Giles Brent first settled there with his wife, a Native American princess. One of the early owners was reportedly the Rev. Alexander Scott of the Church of Overwharten in the 1700s. The National Geographic Society supposedly owned the island at one point. Alexander Graham Bell and Theodore Roosevelt reportedly visited it. The exclusive Metropolitan Club of Washington is said to have once had a clubhouse there. Few of these claims can be verified.
Navy physician Wesley Fry’s ownership of the island is one that can be confirmed. He bought the island in 1958 for $14,000 and lived there with his wife, Erma, for 21 years. According to a 1979 article in The Post, Fry spent $150,000 renovating the structures on the island and clearing the land. He uncovered arrowheads and other relics of Native Americans who inhabited the island.
The Frys sold the island in 1979 for $500,000 to a British firm that was going to turn it into a religious retreat. The island went back on the market in 1989 for $1.1 million. The sellers bought the island in 1991 for $375,000.
Chopawamsic, which is 300 yards from Quantico, is accessible only by boat. There are six structures on the island, including a boat house and tool shed, but none are inhabitable. There is also a swimming pool. Electricity is available through an underwater cable. Water comes from a well. The property is zoned A1 agricultural.
Because it is near Quantico, the water on the back side of the island nearest the Marine base is restricted. Erma Fry told The Post that the Marines called it Pork Chop Island because of its shape.