Tag Archives: Spring Lawn

Lenox as a Resort – Kemble St. Cottages

Frelinghuysen Cottage

Frelinghuysen House (xx Kemble) - 1888
Frelinghuysen House (2 Kemble St.) – 1888

Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, who served as Secretary of Treasury under Chester A. Arthur,  and his wife Martha Griswold Frelinghuysen built this house in 1888 (some sources say 1881)  The house, designed by Roth & Tilden, was handsomely furnished, and the

Frederick T. Freylingjuysen (1817-1885)
Frederick T. Freylingjuysen (1817-1885)

Frelinghuysen’s entertained lavishly, with former President Arthur among their many guests. Frederick Olmsted was consulted on the landscape.

Both the Griswold and Frelinghuysen families had distinguished histories with many past and present ties to Lenox.

The house was subsequently owned by Thatcher Adams, who renamed it “Sundrum House” R.J. Flick purchased the property in the early 1930’s and lived in it while his estate “Uplands”, was under construction. It was then sold to Mrs. Charles F. Bassett who gave the school to the Lenox School for Boys for use as a dormitory.  It is (2016) currently Kemble Inn.

The Hive/ Spring Lawn

"The Hive"
“The Hive”

Lenox is a great place to play the “what used to be here?” game on a grand scale.  Charles and Elizabeth Sedgwick purchased property on what is now Kemble Street and moved a house there.  They quickly expanded to “The Hive” to accommodate their growing family and many guest.

Spring Lawn (1904)
Spring Lawn (10 Kemble St.) -1904

It was replaced in 1903 when J.E. Alexander built Spring Lawn – still standing today; shown here from the same angle as “The Hive.” – not as usually seen from Kemble Street.

John Ernest Alexandre (1840-1910) was a wealthy shipping executive.  He,  his wife, Helen Lispenard Webb (1857-1929) and their daughters had been coming to Lenox for a decade and were renting the Frelinghuysen house next door when Spring Lawn was being built by Boston architect Guy Lowell.

The house was used by Lenox School for Boys and Shakespeare and Company.  When used by the Lenox School for Boys, it was known as Schermerhorn Hall.  It is currently (2016) slated to be part of a time share development.

Sunnycroft (Gone But Not Forgotten)

Sunnycroft - 1888
Sunnycroft – 1888

George Griswold Haven (1866-1925) built Sunnycroft in 1888 using John D. Johnson as architect and John Huss for landscaping.  In 1926 it became the first building used by the Lenox School for Boys and was known as Griswold Hall.  It was demolished in 1940 after St. Martin’s Hall was built.

George G. Haven seemingly had all the gilded age trappings:  two wives (Elizabeth Shaw Ingersoll, then Dorothy James), distinguished family ties, business in all the turn of the century favorite — coal, railroads and banking.  However, he had a nervous breakdown in 1924 and took his own life.

Clipston Grange

Clipston Grange (30 Kemble St.) - 1850 and 1894
Clipston Grange (30 Kemble St.) – 1850 and 1894

The paneled core of Clipston Grange is an old village house, which originally stood at the junction of Main and Cliffwood Street. George G. Haven, New York stockbroker, Lenox real estate

Clipston Grange as it Appears in 2016
Clipston Grange as it Appears in 2016

speculator and future next door neighbor to Clipston Grange moved the old house to Kemble Street in 1893. Frank and Florence Sturgis enlarged the house in 1894 in the colonial revival style adorning the roofline with a parapet, installing elegant bow windows in the dining room and study, and adding a new reception room at the south end. The architect is unknown.

F.K. Sturgis
F.K. Sturgis

A childless couple, the Sturgises were devoted to animals. Florence Sturgis’ family property is now the Bronx Zoo, and Sturgis was a founder of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He served a term as president of the New York Stock Exchange, and on the building committee of Madison Square Garden, on the boards of the Jockey Club and the New York Coaching Club. Florence Sturgis died in 1922, four years later Sturgis left Clipston Grange to the Lenox School for Boys, which was at the time based in Sunnycroft next door to Clipston Grange.

Currently (2016) the property is a private home.

The Perch/ Winter Palace

The Perch(1849) - Fanny Kemble
The Perch (1849) – Fanny Kemble
Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 10.00.43 AM
The Perch
Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 10.00.07 AM
The Perch

Fannie Kemble (Butler), actress and all round character, is mentioned by just about everyone who swarmed to mid 19th century Lenox.

She spent some time at The Curtis and various rentals but eventually carved out a place for herself across from what is now Canyon Ranch on Kemble Street.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 10.03.40 AM
Young Frannie Kemble

 

Older Frannie Kemble
Older Frannie Kemble

 

 

 

 

It was razed and replaced in 1900 by “The Winter Palace.”

The Winter Palace - 1900
The Winter Palace – 1900

 

 

 

The owner, Courtlandt Field Bishop owned property from here through Old Stockbridge Road to Winden Hill–overlapping the current Bishop’s Estate Development.

Cortland Field Bishop
Cortland Field Bishop

His home, Ananda Hall was built in 1924 on Old Stockbridge Road and razed in 1940.

 

 

 

Bellefontaine

Postcard of Bellefontaine in all its Glory - Rear Entrance
Postcard of Bellefontaine in all its Glory – Rear Entrance

Bellefontaine was built in 1896-1898 for Giraud and Jean Foster. Giraud Foster (born in 1851) lived at Bellefontaine until his death in 1945 and could be considered to have watched over the sunset of Lenox’s Gilded Age.

Somewhat reconstituted after a fire, it is now Canyon Ranch (165 Kemble)

Bellefontaine and its inhabitants were extensively described in a recent lecture at Ventforet Hall by Richard Jackson, Jr.

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For much more on the architecture of these houses and the people who lived in them, see

Houses of the Berkshires, 1870-1930, by Richard S. Jackson Jr. and Cornelia Brooke Gilder, Acanthus Press, 2006

The Berkshire Cottages, A Vanishing Era, by Carole Owens, Cottage Press, Inc. 1980

58 Yokun Ave., Carey House – c.1878

58 Yokun Av
58 Yokun Ave., Carey House – c.1878

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

This is a 2-story, wood-framed house with wood clapboard and shingle siding prominently sited atop a hillock. It displays characteristics of both the Shingle and Queen Anne architectural styles. It has an asymmetrical arrangement of the front facade and irregular footprint. The roof is cross-gabled, clad with asphalt shingles, and features a number of dormers. A small dentil band on the cornice encircles the house. There are four massive brick chimneystacks (having multiple flues). There are a variety of shingles—the front gables have scalloped shingles with incised circles; the right side gable has sawtooth and tongue shingles alternating every row; and the second floor has rows of notched shingles over regular rectangular cut shingles. Scroll sawn brackets support all the projecting gables. Two projecting front gabled bays dominate the front facade. The larger of the two is on the right. It has a projecting gabled roof with a set off three attic windows, a broken pediment spanning all three. (This attic window arrangement is repeated on the right side of the house.) A canted bay window on the second floor is centered below, and below it is a 1-story sunporch with balcony atop. The left side pavilion is similar, except with a single 6-o-6 attic window and second floor French door that gives out onto a balcony that tops a fairly recent 1-story addition to the front. (It obscures the original front entry). The entrance, which was moved to the left (north) side, has a porch with two plain pillars and two pilasters with spindled balustrade atop, finials at its corners. The current entry door surround has a fanlight and 2/3-length sidelights. There is a 1-story ell on the left side of the rear ell. In 1885 a large 2-story rear addition was constructed. Attic windows are generally 6-light barn sash type, though on the right side, it has been replaced with a screen. There are a number of original Queen Anne style windows (small square panes surrounding a larger pane) and others with multi-paned transoms.

A large wood-framed carriage barn is sited well behind the house to the east. It has a gable roof with dormers and a cross-gabled right side ell. A greenhouse is also set back from the house, north and west of the carriage barn. A newer front gabled 2-stall garage is located behind the house and south of it is an in-ground swimming pool and gable-roofed pool house. The rear side yard in which the pool and pool house are located is fenced. A curvilinear driveway off Yokun Avenue with its entrance to the north of the house ascends the hill to a wide drop-off area at the front entrance, continues behind the house to access the garage, with a branch eastward to access the carriage barn. There are many mature coniferous and deciduous trees throughout the property.

Architect Henry M. Seaver (3/6/1873 –

The Edward A. Jones Memorial Building was designed by Pittsfield architect Henry M. Seaver. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1897 and began his own architectural firm in 1901.[1] By 1903 he had entered into a partnership with George C. Harding that lasted until Harding’s death in 1921.[2] During that period the firm designed the YMCA Building in Pittsfield; the Chapel at Colgate University in central New York; the Museum of Natural History and Art in Pittsfield; the Colby Academy in New London, New Hampshire; and the Lenox Town Hall.[3] After Harding’s death in 1921, Seaver kept the office open through 1933, during which time he designed the Jones building at the House of Mercy. Other buildings for which he was responsible in this period include the R.J. Flick Residence; an addition to the Berkshire Life Building in Pittsfield; and an addition to the Pittsfield Boys Club Building. He was also an associate architect on the Pittsfield High School Building.[4]

Architect Charles Follen McKim FAIA (August 24, 1847 – September 14, 1909)

One of the most prominent American Beaux-Arts architects of the late 19th century. Along with Stanford White, he provided the architectural expertise as a member of the partnership McKim, Mead, and White.

McKim was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and was named after Charles Follen, noted abolitionist and Unitarian minister. After graduating from Harvard, he studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris[1] before joining the office of Henry Hobson Richardson in 1870. McKim formed his own firm in partnership with engineer William Rutherford Mead, joined in 1877 by fellow Richardson protégé Stanford White.

For ten years, the firm was primarily known for their open-plan informal summer houses. McKim became best known, however, as an exponent of Beaux-Arts architecture in styles that exemplified the American Renaissance, exemplified by the Boston Public Library (1887), and several works in New York City: the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University (1893), the University Club of New York (1899), the Pierpont Morgan Library (1903), New York Penn Station (1904–10), and The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio (1919). He designed the Howard Mansion (1896) at Hyde Park, New York.[2]

McKim, with the aid of Richard Morris Hunt, was instrumental in the formation of the American School of Architecture in Rome in 1894, which has become the American Academy in Rome, and designed the main campus buildings with his firm McKim, Mead, and White.

McKim received numerous awards during his lifetime, including the Medaille d’Or at the 1900 Paris Exposition, a gold medal from Edward VII of the United Kingdom,[3][4] and honorary doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. He was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1877, and received the AIA Gold Medal, posthumously, in 1909.

  1. Craven, Wayne (2009). Gilded mansions: grand architecture and high society. W. W. Norton & Co. p. 228.
  2. “National Register Information System”. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
  3. “KING EDWARD HONORS CHARLES F. McKIM”. NY Times. June 9, 1903.
  4. Moore, Charles (1929). The Life and Times of Charles Follen McKim. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. pp. 204-241. The royal gold medal was awarded for the restoration of the White House. In 1902 Congress appropriated $475,445 for this purpose to be spent at the discretion of President Theodore Roosevelt.

HISTORICAL NARRATIVE:

This house was built for Miss Mary DePeyster Carey. In 1917, it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Strong and in 1931 to Miss Anna R. Alexandre, daughter of John Alexandre builder of Spring Lawn. In 1994 Miss Alexandre sold the house to Dr. and Mrs. Milos Krofta. In 2004 it was acquired by Barbara Crosby.

BIBLIOGRAPHY and/or REFERENCES:

Valuation of the Property, Lenox Library

Wood David, Lenox: Shire Town, P193.

Book of Berkshire P144

Lenox Assessor’s database

[1] Berkshire Athenaeum/Pittsfield Library, History Department, Architects file.

[2] Henry F. Withey, AIA and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased)(Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970) p 264.

[3] Massachusetts Cultural Resource Inventory System (MACRIS) online at: <http://mhc-macris.net>

[4] Berkshire Athenaeum/Pittsfield Library, History Department, Architects file.