Tag Archives: Gilded Age

Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton

Teddy Wharton Apparently Shared his Wife, Edith’s, Affection for Small Dogs.

Born in 1850, Edward R. (Teddy ) Wharton was destined to live the stereotypical version of the Gilded Age life so elegantly portrayed by his wife Edith Jones Wharton.

Son of Nancy Spring Wharton and William Craig Wharton, Teddy grew up in a beautiful Brookline home and graduated from Harvard. Upon graduating and coming into his trust fund, Teddy successfully pursued the life of a rich 19th century American – travelling, being a good sportsman and being all round charming.

He was a friend of Edith’s older brothers, Frederic and Henry Jones. In 1883 he met Edith in Bar Harbor, Maine, and they were married in New York in 1885.   Shortly after their marriage they moved across the street from the Wharton family summer estate in Newport.   In 1893 Edith purchased her own Newport estate called Land’s End. She eventually tired of Newport and purchased 113 acres in Lenox, which would become, in 1901, The Mount, which you can still visit today.

The marriage had been strained for a long time and Teddy stole from Edith to maintain a mistress in Boston. Edith moved to France in 1911 and divorced Teddy in 1913. (Edith died in 1937 in France and is buried in the American Cemetery at Versailles, France.)

Mental illness ran in Teddy’s family and it is speculated he was manic-depressive. After leaving The Mount, Teddy spent much of the remainder of his life at his mother’s summer house (still standing today) at 81 Walker St. in Lenox.

317 Under Mountain Road, George Baty Blake House – c. 1870

317 Under Mountain Rd
317 Under Mountain Road, George Baty Blake House – c.1870

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This 2-story, 3-bay, wood frame house has a front gable roof with pediment and has a Greek Revival style. It is clad with wood clapboard and has corner boards. There is a brick rear wall chimney. A 6-light attic window w/panel below is in the pediment. The front door surround has an entablature, plain pilasters, 2/3-length sidelights with panels below. There is a 1.5-story cross-gabled left side ell with rear lean-to. A side porch with 4 chamfered pillars, two pilasters, scroll sawn brackets and braces, and millwork railing extends along the left side of the main section of the house, turns the inner corner to continue along the full front of the left side ell which has an interior chimney. Windows are 6-o-6 and have authentic window blinds. The window trim on the front façade has rounded moldings on the headers. The left side and left ell headers have flat, plain headers—another clue that the front façade received a significant makeover.

The front porch entrance has been remodeled with a pair of French doors in place of the single window and door.

NOTE: This house appears to have been a dependency to a larger property when constructed.


This house could have possibly belonged to the Pine Needles Estate. The main house and buildings were owned by Mr. George Daty Blake. At the time of his wife’s death the property was sold. In 1969 this house was sold to Rose Barash. In 1971, the name transferred to Seymour and Rosalyn Barash. They sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Nadig. Roger D. and Janet H. Pumphrey purchased the property in 1978. Janet Hetherwick Pumphrey acquired the property in 1997 and has made extensive renovations to the interior and exterior of the house.


Town of Lenox Assessors Card

Lenox Town Hall Records

Pittsfield Registry of Deeds

Ann H. Cahill

Janet H. Pumphrey

65 Cliffwood St., Feno House – c.1920

65 Cliffwood St., Feno House - c. 1910
65 Cliffwood St., Feno House – c. 1910

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This wood-framed Colonial Revival-style house is two stories tall and has six bays on its atypical asymmetrical front facade. It has a hipped roof with projecting gable sections and a long hipped dormer on the back. There are four brick chimneys; two are massive side wall chimneys with flared tops, one each on the left and right sides of the main house. The front entry porch has a flat roof with fluted Doric columns and pilasters. The front door surround has full-length 7-pane sidelights and a 3-light transom. To the right of the front door is a 12-o-8 Palladian window at a mid-floor level (indicating a stair landing on the interior) with tracery in its arched upper section, and narrow 4-light sides. There is a 2-story, hipped roof rear ell which has a side wall chimney between it and a 1-story screened porch on its northerly side. A slightly projecting left side ell with a lower gable roof has a broken-eave shed dormer. Attached to its left is a 2-story, 2-bay-wide, front gabled pavilion with saltbox form and a large brick center chimney. A small 1-story bump-out with corner pilaster is located at the inner corner of these left side ells. On the rear side of them is a glazed conservatory with French doors giving out onto a large terrace, supported by a low stone retaining wall. A recent large addition included a 1-story hyphen extending from the left side of the pavilion. It has eyebrow dormers with fanlight windows on front and back, and an arched opening flanked by pilasters to a recessed entry with French doors. This recent addition also included a forward projecting wing on its left, with exposed brick chimney on its front gable end. The rear facade of the new left-side additions has French doors. The windows look to have been replaced, but most of the window blinds are authentic.

A semi-circular gravel driveway off Cliffwood Street is centered on the front entry. A metal fence runs along the front lot line. The lot is double fronted with Yokun Avenue bordering the rear lot line. A tennis court is located close to Yokun Avenue. An in-ground pool is located behind and right of the house, along with a gazebo. There are numerous mature deciduous and coniferous trees and shrubs and ornamental objects on the extensive grounds.

NOTE: this house is not depicted on the 1911 Sanborn Map, but is on the October 1911 – June 1939 updated Sanborn Map and is labeled “G. K. Livermore.”


After the division of the Stokes property, Three Acres became the home of Mr. & Mrs. Fenno. Mr. Fenno was the Choir Master at Trinity Church. Mrs. Fenno was the former Miss Trenor. After the death of Mr. Fenno, his widow married Mr. G.K. Livermore. She lived at Three Acres until her death. The home was then sold to Mrs. Ralph Pulitzer.

The Chain of Title is as follows:

1963    Mrs. Englebert Krichels

1972    Peter & Brigitte Berger

1978   James S. & Harriet O. Cole.

1981   David and Rose Dortort

1983    Mr. George Krupp.


1911 Sanborn Map, October 1911 – June 1939 updated Sanborn Map

Town of Lenox Records

Lenox Massachusetts Shire Town, David Wood. P. 201

Registry of Deeds

35 Greenwood St., Newton Wilbur House – c.1860

Breezy Corners

35 Greenwood St., Wilbur F. Newton House - c. 1860
35 Greenwood St., Wilbur F. Newton House – c. 1860

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This house was originally oriented to the south-southwest and numbered 62 Cliffwood Street. This early front facade clearly expresses the Italianate architectural design of the house, which is a wood-framed, 2-story building with gable roof and a 3-story square hipped-roof tower. Eaves on the gable ends have double scroll sawn brackets—another typical feature of the Italianate style. There is a large brick center chimney and an exposed brick rear wall chimney. To the left of the tower is the original front door. Its surround is round-arched with a fanlight transom and ½-length sidelights with tracery. A broad veranda with nine chamfered pillars, scroll sawn and incised brackets and braces and matching pilasters wraps around to the left (west) side of the house (and once probably continued around to the rear or current front facade). French doors provide access from the first floor to the veranda. A 2-story canted bay window with smaller scroll sawn brackets on both first and second floor eaves fronts the tower. A 2-story ell, with a lower gable roof, extends to the right (east) of the tower and is fronted by another veranda—this time arcaded with two chamfered pillars and details matching those of the left side wrap-around porch. It has a balcony above with millwork railing. At the far end of the right-side ell is an octagonal second story turret with hipped roof above an open porch with geometric frieze above the arcading. On the north facade, which in now treated as the front, a remodeling introduced the Colonial Revival style—thus it is likely to have occurred in the last decades of the 19th century or early 20th century. This entry porch has an arched roof supported by two Doric columns; the door has ½-length sidelight like the original front door on the south. It is flanked by French doors, strongly suggesting that the veranda originally wrapped around from the west end to the north side as well. This section of the veranda would have been removed at the time of the remodeling and replaced with the new entrance porch (allowing more light into the interior). Windows are 2-o-2 double hung sashes with molded cornices and authentic window blinds. The foundation is stone. The lot is large with an expanse of open lawn. A stuccoed wall extends from the house eastward along the Greenwood Street right-of-way. It has an arched opening, allowing access to the east side yard.

This house has a side-gabled roof with three pedimented dormers. The cornice has paired decorative brackets off its molding. There are leaded glass fanlights and sidelights on both the doors (facing Cliffwood and Greenwood Streets). The north-facing door is outlined by a decorative crown which is supported by slender columns. The 1886 finial was removed while the crown was being repaired in the 1990’s and is missing. A porch wraps around half the house and detailed spindlework supports have side brackets. There are one exterior and two interior chimneys. The first floor dining and living room windows are French doors. The have crowns with designs in the frieze. The remaining first floor windows and second floor windows are rectangular with crowns above them and molded windowsills below. On the third floor there is a full arched window with a crown; another from the 1886 remodel was removed in 1931. There are first and second story bay windows on the side of the house facing Cliffwood St, which originally had shutters.


1870-1872 The property is owned by well-known Lenox builder, ensign Loomis, who lived for many years on the other side of Cliffwood St. Loomis probably built the earliest part of the house on speculation

1872-1882 Local businessman Wilbur F. Newton owned the house (on one acre and 40 rods). Newton bought the place from Loomis for $1200 and sold it a decade later to Mrs. Jonathan Williams Biddle of Philadelphia for $10,000. Property values in Lenox escalated as the popularity of the resort grew in the Gilded Age.

1886 Second owner, Emily Meigs Biddle (Mrs. John) added French doors, wrap-around porch and two colonial revival doors added. Original barn removed; garden with fountain and small fish pool created inside the foundation. A stable was added (52 Cliffwood St.) The first floor was expanded to include a butler’s pantry, back stairs, staff dining, lavatory and larger kitchen. Above, on second floor: more bedrooms for staff and a third floor.

1882-1938 The Biddle family came to Breezy Corners each summer over a fifty-year period. In 1885, Mrs. Biddle was in her 60s and her unmarried daughter, Emily W., in her late 20s. Thomas, the bachelor brother of Miss Emily, often summered here as well as his sister, Christine Cadwalader. Christine Biddle Cadwalader had seven sons (her only daughter died at one month in 1887.) Over the years the Biddles enlarged Breezy Corners with a third story tower, embellished the two-man entrances with grand colonial revival doorways. Architect Joseph Vance of Pittsfield is known to have worked on the house. Miss Biddle, one of the founding members of the Lenox Horticultural Society probably created the walled garden. Some of her plantings survive including the mature Japanese lilac on Cliffwood St. She has been described as a “student of bird life” and participated in Tub Parades. Her charming Gabled carriage house was located at the end of the sloping lawn on Cliffwood St. Emily Biddle died in 1931, leaving the house to her Cadwalader nephews who sold it sever years later.

1907 Upon Mrs. Emily Meigs Biddle’s death, daughter Miss Emily W. Biddle inherited the house and enlarged the 3rd floor removing the gabled roof line and single window in small bedroom, and creating a full bath with tub next to new bedroom in a tower with two windows.

1938-1946 Eaton Crane Paper executive Sherman Hall and his wife Lee DeMulder Hall and their three sons made Breezy Corners a year round residence

1946-2008 Martha Quisenberry Pelton Shirer owned Breezy Corners. Carriage house/garage on Cliffwood St sold to become a separate residence in 1947.

2008 to present The property is now owned by Suzanne W. Pelton, Martha Shirer’s daughter, and her husband David Horton Stroud.

The property was first owned by Wilbur F. Newton until 1882 when he sold the property to Emily Meigs Biddle and Emily Williams Biddle. In 1907 Mrs. Biddle left the property to Emily Williams Biddle. In 1931, Emily Williams Biddle left the property divided into six sections to the Cadwalader family. The Bible family was originally from Philadelphia. The family was involved in many Presidential administrations. The Biddle and the Cadwalader families were relatives of many of these men. In 1938, the house was sold to Sherman and Lee Hall. The Halls sold the house in 1948 to Richard and Martha Quisenberry Pelton. The Peltons sold the carriage house which was later converted into a home.


Suzanne Walker Pelton (current owner)

Lenox Town Hall Records

Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield

Martha Quisenberry Pelton Shirer

33 Main St., Andrew Thompson House – c.1870

33 Main St., Andrew Thompson House - c. 1870
33 Main St., Andrew Thompson House – c. 1870

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This Italianate style building has two stories, a standing-seam metal roof and is intact. It has a three-bay, center entrance and a wood frame. There are two brick interior chimneys; a gable roof w/paired scroll sawn brackets. There is a front gabled wall dormer at the center of the front façade with a Roman-arched attic window. There are smaller front gabled dormers with eave returns and arched attic windows that flank the central wall dormer. There are attic windows on the gable ends– also arched. The front entrance porch has four Doric columns and two Doric engaged columns, balcony above with modillions on overhanging eaves and millwork railings on both levels and ball finials on balcony posts. There is an enclosed (glazed) right side porch and a large two-story cross-gabled rear ell.


The 1854 Clark Map depicts a building with a substantially different footprint than the present bldg. Either that building was completely remodeled or replaced–perhaps when bought by Andrew and Harriet Servin in 1872 (supporting the estimated 1870 construction date). The building with a footprint matching the current building and labeled “A. T. Servin” is depicted on 1876 Beers Map.

“Andrew Thompson purchased this lot in 1836, and with a mortgage from the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company built this house. In 1850 Horatio Sears purchased the property and resided in the house until his death in 1861, when it was sold at public auction for payment of debts and expenses of administration of his estate. Several changes in ownership followed; George Wells, who bought the house and lot at auction for $1,100 sold it to Thomas Post, who in turn sold it to Harriet Servin (Mrs. Andrew Servin) in 1872. In 1875 Elizabeth Bennett (Mrs. Charles Bennett) bought the house and lived there for a time, but after being widowed she rented out the property to Henry S. Leavitt of New York. Around 1900 it was purchased by B.K. Stevens, who named in Sunnyhome (also “Sunnyholm”). In 1930 Mr. Robert S. Tillotson bought the house.”

His daughter lived there in the 1987 when the form B was last updated. In 1995 Paul R. Chernov bought the property and then sold the house to Alice Meleski in 1997. It was sold to the current owner, Austin Riggs Center, Inc., in 2004.


1854 Clark Map, 1876 Beers Map

Old Form B

Town Assessor’s Report

Lenox Assessor’s database 2012

17 Main St., Electa Eddy House – c.1883

silas eddy house 17 Main_NEW

17 Main St., Electa Eddy House - c. 1883
17 Main St., Electa Eddy House – c. 1883

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This Queen Anne style building has two stories, an asphalt shingle roof and has been minimally altered. It is a 4-bay, wood frame with asymmetrical form, a hipped roof and several gable dormers. There are 3 brick chimneys (2 on the right side and 1 on the left. It has a gabled 2nd floor balcony on the right side of the front façade. It has wood clapboard & wood shingle siding as well as decorative shingling in the front gable, on the flared band between the 1st & 2nd floors, and in the balcony gable. There is a large scrolled pediment over the entrance to the glazed wrap-around porch. A front gabled bay projects over the front of the porch. It has a 2-story faceted bay window on the left side with scroll sawn braces above angled sides finished with a ball pendant 2-story rear ell. There are intact 2-over-2 & 4-over-4 windows. It has authentic wood blinds on the 2nd floor and a foundation of large dressed stones.

This is a good example of the Queen Anne style, which enjoyed a brief popularity in Lenox before being eclipsed by the Colonial Revival (another surviving example of this style is the former Congressional Parsonage at 142 Main Street). Like most Queen Anne houses, this one is eclectic, mixing elements such as the Palladian window in the front gable with medieval touches like the patterned masonry chimneys. One of the two chimneys has an oval window inset. This was something of a technological marvel in the 1880’s. The hipped roof with cross gables and varied dormers is a hallmark of this style, although ill-suited to snowy Berkshire winters. An original front porch and a small second-story porch were later enclosed with multi-paned windows; and the installation of a commercial storefront in one corner of the front façade have somewhat altered the Queen Anne façade.


This house was built on the site of an earlier house demolished in the late 1870’s. The lot was purchased from the owner of that house, Lucy Cottrell by Electa Eddy in 1880. In 1885, Charles and Margaret Eddy mortgaged the property for $ 9,000, and the following year sold it to John Egmont Schermerhorn for $25,000. The furnishings of the house were included in this sale, with the exception of several items mentioned specifically in the deed, the famly and household silver and linens, and the “articles of bric-a-brac of a personal and ornamental character”. Mr. Schermerhorn named the house “The Lanai”, perhaps referring to its original porches. Frank and Mary Newton acquired the property in 1992.


Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield, MA 243.329, 258.354, 262.5454

1904 Atlas

35 Walker St., Henry W. Bishop Cottage, 1885

35 Walker St., Henry W. Bishop Cottage
35 Walker St., Henry W. Bishop Cottage

From Surveys Completed 2012-2013 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This Colonial Revival style building has two stories and a slate roof. The structure has been altered. The building has 3-bay, wood framing, and a hipped roof with slate shingles. There are modillions on the eaves, 1 large brick interior chimney, and 1 large Left sidewall chimney. There are 3 gabled dormers on the front, 1 gabled dormer on the Left side, and corner pilasters.   There is also a large 2-story hipped roof rear ell with a 1-story extension wrapping around it. There are some intact 6-o-1 windows, 2 Doric columns at the opening to the recessed entrance (once a freestanding entrance porch), and a gabled rear entry on the left side of the rear ell (added before 1911).


1854 Clark Map labeled house as “H. W. Taft” then 1876 Beers Map labeled it as “Mrs. Wm. Thompson” (demolished); current house first depicted on 1893 Sanborn Map.

This is the earlier of two houses owned as summer cottages by Florence Bishop, in 1885. The cottages were generally rented to summer visitors, or used to house overflow from the Bishop’s estate, Interlaken (dem.). After its purchase in 1949, by Karl and Sophie Grosser, this house became a restaurant and Inn.

October 8, 1874 built by Henry W. Bishop, sold to Ellen L. Thompson, then bought by William Curtis.

October 17, 1885 Florence Bishop purchased from William Curtis.

January 31, 1921 Florence V.C. Parsons from Cortland L. Bishop.

February 14, 1921 Charles L. Slattery from Florence V.C. Parsons

July 16, 1926 Katherine McDonald from Beatrice B. Bishop

October 21, 1945 Joseph F. Deely from Mary McDonald

November 22, 1949 purchased by Louis C. Ardel and Albert Blaser.

___________, 1949 purchased by Karl and Sophie Grosser and run as a restaurant called Chef Karl’s.

April 29, 1963, purchased by John and Ann Pedretti and run as a restaurant called The Toby Jug.

October 7, 1977, purchased by James DeMayo and run as a restaurant and inn called The Candlelight Inn.

September 1985, purchased by Robert Artig and Marsha Heller and run as a restaurant and inn called The Candlelight Inn.

August 19, 2002, purchased by John M. Hedgecock.

September 19, 2002, purchased by Rebecca M. Hedgecock.

August 31,m 2004, purchased by William G. C. Dakin.


1854 Clark Map, 1876 Beers Map, 1893 Sanborn Map

Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield, MA

Atlas of the Garden Spots of Berkshire, Barnes & Jenks, 1894

Atlas of Berkshire County, Massachusets, Barnes & Farnham, 1904

Local histories

Lenox Assessor’s database 2012

45 Walker St., David Wolf Bishop House, 1895

45 Walker St., David Wolf Bishop House - 1895
45 Walker St., David Wolf Bishop House – 1895

From Surveys Completed 2012-2013 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This Colonial Revival style building has two stories, an asphalt shingle roof, and has been significantly altered. This structure has 3-bays, a center entrance, a wood frame, and a hipped roof. There is a shallow entrance pavilion with a pediment, a fanlight attic window, modillions & dentils. There is a 3-part window with 2-o-1 windows flanking larger 6-o-1 on the 2nd floor of the pavilion. There are pedimented dormers–2 front, 2 right side, and 1 left side. There are 2 large brick interior chimneys and a full front porch which has a projecting center section aligned with the pediment above. There is a set of 3 Doric columns at the corners of the porch’s center section and a millwork railing. The recessed front entrance has door surround with sidelights; the front door is intact. The windows are 6-o-1 with molded window headers. There is a 1-story faceted bay window on the left side, and a 2-story rear ell with a hipped roof, and a rear porch with a hipped roof and a hooded entry on the left side. There is a semi-circle driveway in front yard centered on entrance.


This is one of two cottages built by the Bishop family (the other is 35 Walker Street). Both were built as guest cottages by the Bishops, who owned several large estates in Lenox. This house was built by Florence V.C. Bishop (who later became Mrs. White through her second marriage) and was given to David Wolf Bishop, who never lived in the cottage. In 1921, it was purchased by Charles Lewis Slatterly, the Bishop of Western Massachusetts, who in turn sold cottage #2 to James and Maude Reger. In 1927 the house was acquired by Alice Regnier. In 1957 the cottage was inherited by Clement J. and Hilaire Regnier. On February 25, 1994 it was acquired by Charles T. Schulze.


Registry of Deeds

Conversations with Mr. Clement Regnier

Atlas of Garden Spots of Berkshire, Barnes and Jenks, 1894

Atlas of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, Barnes and Farnham, 1904

Lenox Assessor’s database 2012

81 Walker St., William C. Wharton House, 1885

Pine Acre
Pine Acre

From Form B’s Completed by Lenox Historical Commission 2012-2013


This Queen Anne style building has two stories, an asphalt shingle roof and has been altered. There is a 7-bay, center entrance. The building has wood frame construction with a hipped roof and 2 large brick interior chimneys. The first floor has wood clapboard siding and shingle cladding on the second floor. The upper story flares out at bottom over the first floor. Two pedimented shallow pavilions flank the entrance porch. The entrance porch has a front gable roof, 6 turned posts, and scroll sawn braces. There are 2 stories of balconies above entrance porch (one at the 2nd floor and one at the attic level. There are 13-light Queen Anne-style windows with small square panes surrounding larger square pane in the middle. LANDSCAPE: there is a semi circular driveway in the front yard centered on the front entrance.


On November 19, 1856, Ira T. Bangs sold this property to Elizabeth and Wickham Hoffman. The Hoffman’s sold to George A. Winchell, July 12, 1871. George A. Winchell sold to Nancy W. Rogers on October 3, 1884.


Mrs. M. E. Rogers of Philadelphia had this house built in 1885, for use as a summer residence. By 1890 the house had been rented for the season to John Burrell, and in 1892 it was sold to Nancy W. Wharton (Mrs. William C.) who summered here with her daughter. Mrs. Wharton’s son, Edward, was married to novelist Edith Wharton who was to become one of the most illustrious residents of Lenox. After spending several summers in Newport, Edith Wharton, displeased with both the climate and the lack of intellectual life there, came to Lenox. She stayed at “Pine Acre”, home of her Mother-in law and Sister-in-law, who were abroad at the time. She was very impressed with Lenox that she returned to “Pine Acre” the following summer and, in February of 1902, returned to Lenox to look for a house site of her own. While looking for the site she stayed at the Curtis Hotel. She spent one last summer at “Pine Acre” in 1902, while her house, “The Mount”, was under construction.


Mrs. William C. Wharton continued to stay at “Pine Acre” for several summers until her death in August of 1909 in Lenox. The house was purchased by William J. and Mary E. Merrick through the estate of William C. Wharton in 1929. In February 23, 1946, the house was sold to Mrs. Charles Dugan and Mary Dugan, who converted it to an inn. On December 27, 1963, the Dugans sold to William J. and Lois G. Sununu. In October 1969 the Sununu’s sold to Helen L. Fillio. Helen Fillio sold to John C. and Ida M. Connors on March 1, 1971. Connors sold to James W. Kelly on March 15, 1978. Kelly, who created and ran “Kelly’s Irish Pub,” sold the property to Lewis and Inna T. Rubin on February 2, 1979. Rubin sold to Robert P. Butler, who ran an inn on the site called “Three Gables Inn”, on June 7, 1982. Butler sold to Mary and Francis Newton on April 18, 1986. Newton changed the name from “Three Gables Inn” to “The Gables Inn”. In 2007, Frank Newton converted “The Gables” into 5 condominiums. The current owners of the condominiums are: Elliott R Morss, Harvey Siegel and Christine Hoppus, Mark A. Peeler, Terence G. McInerney, and Francis Newton.




Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield, MA 150.538; 211.171; 257.427; 281.178; 448.130; 520.530; 776.249; 882.246; 902.394; 1001.585; 1016.585; 1059.129; 1144.286.

Edith Wharton – A Biography R.W.B. Lewis (N.Y. Harper & Row, 1975) page 93

Bibliography and/or references (such as local histories, deeds, assessor’s records, early maps, etc.)

Recollections of Frank Newton, June 21, 2012

Lenox Assessor’s database 2012

10 Kemble St., Springlawn, 1904

10 Kemble St., John E. Alexandre House - 1904
10 Kemble St., John E. Alexandre House – 1904

From Form B’s Completed by Lenox Historical Commission 2012-2013

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION: This house was constructed in the decorative Beaux Arts style and. It is 2-plus stories in height with an articulated, symmetrically organized 5-bay facade with center entrance. The rear facade is also symmetrically organized. It has a hipped roof now clad in asphalt shingles and with various types of dormers and four interior brick chimneys. The wide overhanging eaves feature large modillions with pairs of smaller, plain brackets between them, and regularly spaced decorative pendants. The house has a stucco finish, with stone quoining and banding between the first and second stories and below the second floor window sills. An elaborately decorated porte-cochere extends forward of the main entrance and has an arched pediment with modillions, egg and dart molding, sheath ornamentation and Greek fret banding. It is supported by banded Ionic columns with flutes between the bands, and extravagant capitals with floral and foliage bas relief. Its coved ceiling has egg and dart molding above dentil banding. The front door surround is a concave arched niche with a fanlight transom within a shallow recess with one Corinthian pilaster on the right side, a plain pilaster on the left. The cornice of this recess is banded by small dentils. The double wood entry doors are intact; each has four panels. Centered above the entry and porte-cochere is a second floor window with quoining tied into a large pedimented front wall dormer above. This dormer has shield and garland decorations, pilasters, a deep architrave, and miniature turned balusters below the 12-light casement windows. Scrolled side braces complete the composition. Arched-roof dormers with oval windows flank the center front wall dormer. Shallow pavilions define the outer bays of the main section, highlighted by the stone quoining. Large first floor 8-light casement windows are set within Roman- or round-arch niches and have quarter-round, 3-light transoms to create round-arch effects. On the front facade the rectangular second floor windows are 6-over-1 double hung sashes aligned above those on the first floor— sets of three in the inner bays, paired in the outer. Those in the outer bays are distinguished with balconettes with turned balusters, and garlanded supports below. A two-story recessed ell off the right side has a slightly lower hipped roof with two hipped dormers on both the front and rear. Like the main section it has quoining at its corners. Stone banding along the bottom of the second floor window sills ties in with the main banding on the main 5-bay section. The second floor has windows both 8-o-1 and 4-o-1 windows. It has a 2-bay-wide shallow pavilion at the far right edge, which has a blind window with pediment on the first floor. Between this pavilion and the main section is a loggia on the first floor with substantial plain pillars and turned balustrades between. A small secondary entrance at the left edge of the ell provides access to the loggia. Off the right rear corner of the ell is a glazed sunporch, below which is the only portion of the basement that is exposed and has at-grade access. The basement/foundation is stone. The rear facade is similar to the front in fenestration and detailing. Dormers on the rear are slightly different. The central wall dormer, aligned above the rear entrance, has French doors accessing a balconette. Brick interior chimneys flank this dormer, while two hipped dormers with flared eaves and modillions, are on each side of the center dormer and chimneys. The central bay features a projecting porch edged by banded piers within which are two Ionic columns. The rear entrance is recessed and arched. A curved balustrade with turned, urn-shaped balusters fringes the upper terrace that projects out from the porch. There are wide side stairs on either side leading to a lower terrace that has a matching balustrade stretching nearly as wide as the main section of the house. Descending from the center of the lower terrace is a grand stairway leading down to an open lawn (originally gardens), which reinforces the axial symmetry of the house. A solar panel has been added to the rear roof. NOTE: The property is labeled “J. E. Alexandre” on the 1905 Sanborn Map. On the 1911 Sanborn, the map is labeled “Helen L. Alexandre” and “Spring Lawn” with a notation on the house, “Plastered outside.”

Architect Guy Lowell (4/6/1870 – 2/4/1927) “One of Boston’s most distinguished architects, and member of a prominent New England family. He was a native of the city, the son of Edward J. Lowell, and a cousin of Percival Lowell, astronomer, the late Amy Lowell, poetess, and A. Lawrence Lowell, former president of Harvard University. “After an early education in private schools the young man entered Harvard where he graduated with the class of 1892. His professional training was acquired at Boston’s M. I. T., and during four years (1895-99) in Europe during which he attend Atliers of the Paris Ecole des Beaux Arts, studying architectural history and design, also landscape gardening. Returning to Boston he established an office in the city, launching a career that was to bring him success and many honors. A skilled and versatile designer Mr. Lowell’s work was broad in scope, comprising large public and institutional buildings, many distinctive residences, country estates, and formal gardens. “One of his most important early commissions was to prepare a new building program for Phillips Academy at Andover, Mass., and between 1903 and 1923 he designed a score of new buildings on the campus, all conforming in style to the older structures of Georgian design. Among Mr. Lowell’s other noted achievements in architecture was the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, completed in 1908; the Cumberland County Court House, Portland Maine; State Historical Building, Concord, N. H. Simmons College buildings in Boston; Emerson Hall, a new Lecture Hall, and the President’s House at Harvard University; several units of the State Normal School, Bridgewater, Mass., Memorial Tower and other buildings at Brown University, Providence, R. I., Eden Hall, Bar Harbor, Maine, a new Art School at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (under erection at the time of his death), and his largest and most important contribution to American architecture, the New York County Court House, completed only a short time prior to his death. “Mr. Lowell also won wide recognition in the field of domestic architecture, designing homes of distinction, and large private estates with landscaped grounds for many persons of prominence. Among his clients were Frederick L. Ames of North Easton, Mass., Jefferson Coolidge, Beverly Farms, Mass., Robert Gould Shaw, 2nd of Hamilton, Mass., George C. Knapp, Lake George, New York, Paul Cravath, Locust Valley, Long Island, New York, Richard Sears, Islesboro, Maine, Francis Skinner, Dedham, Mass., B. F. Goodrich, York Harbor, Maine, Cyrus Allen and Thomas McKay, Beverly, Mass., Clarence McKay, Harbor Hill, Long Island, and Harry Payne Whitney, and Morton F. Plant. Mr. Lowell designed formal gardens for their New York city homes, an Italian garden at New London, Conn. for Mr. Plant, and buildings and landscaping of grounds at the Bayard Thayer estate, Lancaster, Mass. “Early in his career Mr. Lowell lectured for a time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the subject of Landscape Architecture. He was one of the first architects to write a book on American Gardens, and traveled extensively in preparation for his “Italian Villas and Farmhouses,” published in two beautifully illustrated volumes. “During the first World War he went to Italy to participate in Red Cross work, and in appreciation of his aid and encouragement to that country in the darkest days of the war, was awarded the Italian Distinguished War Cross. Early in 1927 Mr. Lowell left this country for an extended European cruise, but it was cut short by death while visiting friends on the Madeira Islands. His untimely passing at the age of fifty-seven was a shock to his friends in America, and a distinct loss to the architectural profession. [References: Obit., New York Times 2/5/1927; Architectural Record, April, 1927; American Architect, April, 1927; Who Was Who in America, 1897 – 1942.]”[1]

HISTORICAL NARRATIVE: Spring Lawn was built by John E. Alexandre in 1904 as a summer home. The house was built on the site of the former Sedgwick School for Girls. After Mr. Alexandre’s death, his daughter sold the estate to Mrs. Arthur F. Schermerhorn, who renamed it “Schermeer”. In 1957 the house was deeded to the Lenox School and subsequently became part of the Bible Speaks College. The Bible Speaks College conveyed the property to Mr. & Mrs. Jonas Dovydenas as a result of a lien initiated by Dovydenas. Between the years 1984 and 1985, Elizabeth (Betsy) Dovydenas donated $6.5 million to The Bible Speaks ministry. She also changed her will, leaving her estate to the ministry and disinheriting her husband Jonas Dovydenas as well as her children. In 1986 she and her family brought a lawsuit against Carl H. Stevens Jr. and The Bible Speaks, seeking to recover the $6.5 million. The court found in her favor, and the Bible Speaks declared bankruptcy and lost their property in Lenox Massachusetts. Carl H. Stevens relocated to Baltimore. Elizabeth Dovydenas owned the property from 1987 to 1993. It was owned by the National Music Foundation from 1993 to 1999 and then owned by Shakespeare and Company from 1999 to 2005. It was purchased by James C. Jurney Sr. in 2005.

BIBLIOGRAPHY and/or REFERENCES: 1905, 1911 Sanborn Maps; The Berkshire Cottages, A Vanishing Era. Carole Owens, 1984. P.155; Lenox Massachusetts Shire Town. David Wood, 1969. P.200; American Architect and Building News 10/14/1905; A History of the Lenox School Campus – September 2010 [1] Henry F. Withey, AIA and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased)(Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970) pp. 381-382.