Anne Archbold



Anne Archbold (1873-1968)


Anne Archbold was a world traveler, with houses in England, Maine, and Nassau, was the daughter of a Pennsylvania oil millionaire.

Her father, John Dustin Archbold (1848-1916) founded Acme Oil Company, was bought out by Rockefeller circa 1875. Investigated in 1879, he described his role in the Standard Oil: “I am a clamorer after dividends.“ When asked how large these were, he said, “I have no trouble transporting my share“ In 1882 he was a founding trustee of the Standard Trust. In 1911 became a director of Standard Oil of NJ. (Robert Heilbroner, in American Heritage)

Anne Archbold was painted by Frederick MacMonnies in 1903 (Comenos Fine Arts, Boston; Cornish Colony Gallery)

In 1906, Anne Mills Archbold married Armar Dayrolles Saunderson (1872-1952), of Castle Saunderson, Ireland, the son of Edward James Saunderson, a leader of the Unionist party in the House of Commons. The couple bought “Foxlease”, in Hampshire. When they divorced in 1922, Archbold donated the estate to the Girl Guides, and, to remove her four children from the reach of the British courts, left England on a Standard Oil tanker.

In 1922 Archbold bought land on Reservoir Road. Hillandale was built 1922-1925.

Archbold used Hillandale to train German shepherds as police dogs and seeing–eye dogs. She was a member of the National Woman’s Party, and joined a delegation to lobby President Warren G. Harding on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Circa 1923-1929: charitable support of occupational therapy and social welfare departments, Gallinger Hospital (Green, Constance, II:321)

In 1938 Anne’s daughter Moira Archbold married Nicol Smith, a Southeast Asia explorer, at Hillandale. (Washington Post, June 3, 1938, p.X18; Nicol Smith, Into Siam: Underground Kingdom, 1946; Sharon E. Karr, Traveler of the Crossroads: The Life of Adventurer Nicol Smith, 1995)

In 1939 Anne Archbold financed the construction of a diesel powered copy of a 15th-century Chinese junk, and supported, and participated in, two botanical cruises of the Cheng Ho in the East Indies and the Pacific, collecting seeds, cuttings, rooted plants, and tubers.


John D. Archbold


Between 1968 and 1979, Anne’s son, John D. Archbold (1910-1993), of Upperville, Virginia, used Hillandale as his Washington residence.


“John Dana Archbold, 83, a philanthropist who supported efforts to preserve the environment and conserve natural resources, died of congestive heart failure Nov. 29 at “Foxlease Farm,” his residence in Upperville, Va.”

“One of Mr. Archbold’s principal interests was tropical ecosystems. He donated “Springfield Plantation,” his property on the Caribbean island of Dominica, to a consortium of universities headed by Clemson University, which operates it as the Archbold Tropical Research Institute.”

“Mr. Archbold also gave 1,000 acres on Dominica for use as a national park, Morne Trois Pitons. It is one of the few misty forest preserves left in the Caribbean.”

“The heir to a Standard Oil fortune, Mr. Archbold was born in Bar Harbor, Maine. He lived in various parts of England, Thomasville, Ga., and San Diego, Calif., before settling in Washington in the early 1920s.”

“His mother, Anne Archbold, the daughter of John D. Rockefeller’s original partner in Standard Oil of Ohio, built “Hillandale,” an Italianate villa on 30 acres of land at the corner of Reservoir and Foxhall Roads in Northwest Washington.”

“A yachtsman for most of his life, he divided his time in the 1930s between Palm Beach, Fla., and Bar Harbor. His interest in Dominica grew out of a treasure-hunting expedition, and he bought property on the island in 1935.”

“After the war, he lived in New York and Palm Beach. He settled in Upperville in 1950. He used Hillandale as his residence in Washington until 1979, when it was sold for a real estate development. (A part of it was sold earlier as the site for the French Embassy.)”

(“Philanthropist and Heir John D. Archbold Dies”, Washington Post, 11 December 11, 1993, p.B6)




Glover-Archbold Parkway


In 1924 the banker Charles Carroll Glover gave the newly instituted National Capital Parks Commission seventy-seven acres in the valley of Foundry Branch, which, with the addition of twenty-eight acres from Anne Archbold, became Glover-Archbold Parkway, which included a 100-foot right-of-way for the construction of a parkway (marked as Arizona Avenue: the name was transferred to its present location in 1954).  This right-of-way seemed benign to the donors in 1924, when there were fewer cars.

After World War II plans to exercise the right-of-way through the park began to go forward. A four-lane divided highway was proposed as a commuter artery. Anne Archbold opposed this: “It is beautifully wooded, with a wealth of wild flowers and bird life. Quiet pathways lead down its sides along the meandering creek bed with its sycamore-tulip tangles, furnishing restful retreats for adults and fascinating children. Such a beautiful park cannot be eliminated if Washington is to grow as a living organism with its parts in proper balance.” (Washington Present And Future: A General Summary Of The Comprehensive Plan For The National Capital And Its Environs, April, 1950; “Glover-Archbold  Parkway”, Washington Post, May  30, 1953)

In 1956-7 the National Capital Park and Planning Commission issued a master plan for the Washington Metropolitan Area that called for construction of an eight-lane Three Sisters Bridge, and a four-lane highway through Glover-Archbold Park.

In 1961 Anne Archbold and C. Carroll Glover, Jr., filed an injunction against the District Commissioners and testified that the project was a violation of the public trust. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall supported the park advocates, and Senate majority leader Michael Mansfield (D-MT) introduced a bill to transfer the right-of-way to the National Park Service. The bill failed.

As late as 1967 the Commission of Fine Arts and the D.C. Department of Highways approved a plan for the Three Sisters Bridge, but the plan was dropped, and the District government finally ceded the right-of-way in Glover-Archbold Park to the National Park Service. (“Freeway Idea Killed as City Gives Up Glover-Archbold Corridor”, Washington Post, January 13, 1967, B3)

Anne Archbold died at Nassau, 1968: “It was my purpose that the beautiful wooded valley be preserved perpetually for the benefit and pleasure of the public. It  should remain and be enjoyed by all  as a natural sanctuary.” (“Park Donor Anne Archbold, 94, Dies”, Washington Post, March 28, 1968, C14)

In 1971 her executor won an additional victory.  “Involved is the deductibility, as a charitable contribution, of legal fees paid by the taxpayer to a private law firm for the firm’s services in opposing highway construction through land which the taxpayer had earlier given to the United States for park purposes.” (444 F.2d 1120 – Anne Archbold, by John D. Archbold, Executor of the Estate of Anne Archbold, Deceased v. the United States, United States Court of Claims, July 14, 1971)

The nomination of Glover-Archbold Park to the National Register of Historic Places was approved January 16, 2007.


((“Park Offered Capital As Gift By Mrs. Archbold”, Star, October 23, 1924, p.19; “Hayden Bill Asks Developing Arizona Avenue: Four-lane Freeway Would Be Built from Canal Road,” Evening Star, December 21, 1947, p.33; “Weaver Street Change to Arizona Ave. OK’d”, Evening Star, January 12, 1954. p.1; “Court Upholds Suit by Park Road Foes,” Washington Star, January 28, 1960; “Glover-Archbold Road is Opposed by Udall,” Evening Star, January 25, 1962; “District Fights to Save Site for Parkway,” Evening Star, March 27, 1962; “Road Ban OK Seen in Glover-Archbold,” Evening Star, April 2, 1962; “AAA Backs Highway for Glover Park,” Evening Star, April 3, 1962; “Rivals Debate Future of Glover-Archbold,” Evening Star, JuIy 23, 1962)





Anne Archbold Hall, DC General Hospital:


The Cheng Ho Expedition, and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami:




Carlton Fletcher

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