Mathy House to Be Included in Clifton Tour of Homes

Posted: May 10, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Lynn Burke

One of the Fairfax area’s long-standing and much anticipated spring events is the Tour of Homes sponsored by the Clifton Community Woman’s Club. This year, President Alan Merten and his wife, Sally, will open the doors of Mathy House, the university president’s official home, as one of the stops on the tour Thursday, May 18.

Mathy House was acquired by the George Mason University Foundation in 1983 through a generous agreement with the Mathys, a prominent Washington, D.C., family. Subsequent to that transaction, the entire contents of the house, including furnishings, antiques and art collections, were donated by the Mathys.

“University President and Mrs. George Johnson were the first residents,” says Mrs. Merten. “Alan and I moved in when we arrived on June 30, 1996. We do not own the house, but it is our home, and we have blended our personal possessions with those of the house to provide a warm, welcoming atmosphere for our guests.”

Mathy House
Mathy House will be featured on the Clifton house tour this month.
Creative Services photo

The brick Colonial-style home features white paneled millwork, wainscoting and a wood hand-railed staircase in the two-story foyer; chandeliers from France, Belgium, Ireland (Waterford) and Spain; and Italian marble on the floors and many of the fireplaces.

When the club approached Mrs. Merten about including Mathy House on the tour, she says she did not hesitate to say yes for two reasons: “First, many people are curious about how university presidents live and what their homes are like. Second, the home tour provides funds that support many causes within the community, and that includes two scholarships for students to attend George Mason University. I felt that including our home on the tour was a way to thank the group for their support.”

Along with Mathy House, the tour will include stops at four other homes. Approximately 1,000 people are expected to attend.

On the evening before and the day of the tour, the club also sponsors a silent auction, a boutique and a book sale in the Clifton Town Meeting Hall and a local women’s art show and sale in the Hermitage Restaurant. Beginning at noon on Thursday, musical performances will take place in the Primitive Baptist Church in Clifton, a structure that dates back to 1869. Tickets are not required for these events.

Tickets sold in advance are $15, and tickets sold on the day of the event are $20. For a list of ticket sale locations, visit the club’s web site. For more information, e-mail

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