In case you were wondering where President Ford spent the night on Sept. 27, 1977, Silverado Resort has the answer.
Condo number 277.
“President Gerald Ford slept here,” reads a shiny, gold-colored plaque mounted on the back of the front door of the condo at 1600 Atlas Peak Rd.
“I know I’m getting better at golf because I’m hitting fewer spectators,” reads a quote on the plaque, followed by the president’s initials and the year.
Fans of the president, or just those who want to enjoy golf course views, recently had a chance to own a piece of Napa “history” – the condo was listed for sale in early September for $795,000.
“I haven’t heard of any presidents who have stayed at the Silverado Resort,” said listing agent Karen Magliocco.
Most of the potential buyers who inquired about the unit “thought it was pretty neat” that the president had overnighted there, she said.
Ford had the shortest presidency of any U.S. president who didn’t die in office: 895 days. He was elevated to the presidency in August 1974 after Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal. Ford left office in January 1977 when he failed to get elected.
The September 1977 Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic Pro-Am brought Ford to Napa. Now that his presidency was over, Ford was enjoying one of his favorite hobbies – golfing.
Back in 1977, the Silverado Resort condo was owned by Charles and Alice McBride. The couple, now in their 80s and living in Palm Desert, said the unit was part of the resort rental pool at the time.
Alice McBride said the couple didn’t get a chance to meet Ford, but when they heard he would be staying two nights in their unit, “that evening we went up there with new bedspreads,” she said.
However, “they told us we could not go in because Ford was in there. So we left the bedspreads with the manager and went down to the restaurant to have dinner.”
The McBrides said the plaque must have been installed by a later owner. “It wasn’t there when we sold the condo,” said Alice McBride.
“I think it’s very nice” that the commemorative plaque was installed, she said.
Charles McBride said it was “no big deal” that Ford had spent the night in the unit. “A lot people rented it,” he said. “We had a good location and a good view, and close to clubhouse.”
Charles McBride thinks the resort perhaps chose that unit for Ford because “it had all kinds of extra phone lines and outlets.” The condo had been previously owned by the sister of Angelina Alioto, who was the first lady of San Francisco from 1969 to 1975.
Back in the 1970s, the condo likely featured the popular decorating style of the times, such as gold or brown shag carpeting, wood paneled walls and goldenrod or avocado green appliances. The unit has been modernized since then and looks contemporary today.
The September listing includes both unit 277 and 278, which total 988 square feet. There are two bedrooms and two baths. The second bedroom can be locked off to form a separate unit.
Realtor Magliocco said she’s not sure who commissioned the plaque. Does the fact that a president slept in the condo add any value to the property?
“I don’t think so,” she said. It’s just an interesting fact.
Thanks to a tight real estate market in Napa County, including some families displaced by the October wildfires, as of Wednesday, the condo sale was pending, according to Magliocco. The property was offered as fully furnished.
The McBrides owned the condo for many years. More than 40 years later, they couldn’t immediately remember how much they bought or sold the condo for.
“It’s been a long time,” said Charles McBride.
As for today’s $795,000 asking price, Charles McBride said, “It surprises me it’s not higher than that.”
“We bought it for an investment,” and it was a good one, he said. “Very much so. It (was) rented nearly every night.”
As for Ford’s golf game during the tournament, Napa Register reports from the time note that the president played the north course at Silverado with professional golfer Tom Watson and two Anheuser-Busch executives. Par is 72.
“Ford stole the show,” said the reports.
What was his team’s final score?