This house was built on a 13.5-acre lot on the outskirts of Rockville in 1842. A stone marking the southwest corner of the original 1803 Rockville Plan is between this house and the adjacent Rockville Academy grounds. Matilda Holland, widow of Montgomery County Register of Wills, Solomon Holland, purchased the land in 1839. Her daughter Anne and her husband Capt. Zachariah Johnston, USN, built the Greek Revival-style house, which housed their five daughters and Matilda Holland. Its original design was a 1 1/2-story side-gabled dwelling with a pedimented front portico with classical columns. It had an attached west wing and a rear wing. It was enlarged to two full stories in 1876 and remodeled to a more Victorian style. A private lane led to the house and back to the stable and pasture along Falls Road.
The property was owned or occupied by five generations of the Johnston-Prettyman family for almost 150 years. The Johnstons' daughter, Lydia, married Elijah Barrett Prettyman in 1855. He later became Clerk of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. Many members of this family were active in County and town politics, religious and educational affairs, and the military. Various family members and others purchased land along the stable lane, which became South Van Buren Street. The Prettyman family owned the house until 1968.