Tennessee senator died last year
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 21, 2015) — The 11.52-acre home place and personal property of the late Sen. Howard H. Baker, Jr., will be sold at auction on June 20 in Huntsville, Tenn.
The property, located approximately 50 miles northwest of Knoxville, will be offered in two tracts, separately or as a whole, with tract one consisting of the 6,175-s.f. main residence, the 750-s.f. caretaker cottage, pool and pool house, tennis court, and a detached five-car garage. Tract two will feature the 2,000-s.f. guest house. Personal property will be auctioned after the real estate.
Originally built in the 1950s, the Baker home has been featured in several magazines over the years for its unique style and decor. The mid-century modern home features high wooden beams, a terrazzo floor in the living room, enormous sliding glass doors and windows, and five fireplaces—including one in the master bath. The guest house overlooks the Cumberland Mountains and the New River, which feeds into Big South Fork River.
Baker’s estate began as a piece of property given to him as a wedding gift after marrying Joy Dirksen, daughter of the late Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois. Baker was born and grew up across the street from the current estate, and he affectionately referred to his hometown of Huntsville as “the center of the universe.” After the death of his wife, Baker married Kansas Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum and the couple planned to spend half their time at the estate in Huntsville and half their time on her farm in Kansas. However, Baker always preferred Huntsville.
Baker’s “center of the universe” has entertained a list of political dignitaries over the years including the United States’ 40th President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat, and most governors, senators and congressmen from Tennessee.
Highlights of Baker’s political career include serving the state of Tennessee in the U.S. Senate, where he eventually was elected Majority Leader from 1967 to 1985. He subsequently served as chief of staff to President Reagan and U.S. Ambassador to Japan. He was co-chair of the Senate Committee during the Watergate scandal where he asked the famous question, “What did the President know and when did he know it?”
Baker died in June 2014 at the age of 88.