The CIA Campus: The History of the Scattergood-Thorne Property
The white house sits back from Virginia Route 123. Many passersby might not notice it, and those that do, might not know that this house is part of the CIA and has a deep and rich history. It’s the Scattergood-Thorne property.
The 32-acre property once was part of 2,800 acres acquired in 1719 by Thomas Lee from the Fairfax family in England. Lee named his land, which ran along the Potomac River from Little Falls to Great Falls, “Langley.” After Lee’s death, the land passed to his son; it later was divided among the family members. By 1852, a 935-acre parcel was named Rokeby Farm. Today the CIA Headquarters occupies a large part of the original Rokeby Farm.
In 1933 Margaret Scattergood and Florence Thorne purchased a 20-acre tract of that farm, and in 1935 added an adjoining 12 acres. Scattergood and Thorne named their turn-of-the century wood-framed residence Calvert House and the property became known as the Calvert Estate.
During the 1940s, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) acquired 742 acres near Georgetown Pike to be used for a research facility.
In the 1950s, CIA obtained 225 acres of the FHWA property—including the Calvert Estate—to house its new Headquarters, with the stipulation that Scattergood and Thorne could remain on the property until their deaths. Thorne passed away in 1973 at the age of 96 and Scattergood passed away in 1986 at the age of 92.
The CIA took control of Scattergood-Thorne acreage in 1987. The CIA now uses this former residence as a conference center.