Tag Archives: Gilded Age

2 Kemble St., Frederick T. Frelinghuysen House, 1881

2 Kemble St., Frederick T. Frelinghuysen House - 1881

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


This Colonial Revival style building has two stories, an asphalt shingle roof and is intact. It is a 5-bay, center entrance, wood frame construction with two front hipped roof dormers with scrolled pediments. It has three massive brick chimneys with flared tops, painted white. There are two side wall chimneys on the main building and one center chimney on the left wing. It has wood clapboard siding and has a symmetrically organized front façade on the main section. The center pavilion has projecting pediment with modillions and a fanlight at the attic level. It has frieze windows and a Paladian window on the 2nd floor with Adamesque ornamentation. There is a semi-circular entrance porch with fluted Corinthian columns, and a recessed main entrance with paneled walls and built-in benches on the sides. The porch entry surround has triglyphs, metopes, pillars, consol braces with spindles between pillars at the outer end of the benches. The front door surround has sidelights with Chi noise pattern. The 1st floor windows have multi-paned upper sashes with oval at center, trim with entablature and scrolled pediments with large torch finials and applied garland swags on frieze. There is a large 2-story recessed hipped-roof wing off left side with secondary front entry and shed-roofed porch for the left side entry. The windows and doors appear to be intact. The semi-circular driveway in the front yard has 2 curb cuts and centers on the front entrance.


This house is a notably early example of the Colonial Revival style, predating McKim Mead and White’s “Homestead, built in Lenox in 1885 (demolished). According to a guidebook of the period, it is “of the old Colonial style, and is among the first of that style of architecture in the village, of the later day adaptation of that sort of home”. The house has the central pavilion, palladian windows, attic story windows and roof balustrade that are characteristic of the Colonial Revival. The ornamentation is somewhat exaggerated and less historically accurate than later examples of the style.



Labeled “Frelinghuysen Est.” on 1894 Barnes & Jenks Map; footprint on 1893 Sanborn Map matches the current configuration.

Most recently, in 2010, Scott Shortt purchased the Kemble Inn and has made extensive renovations.

Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, who served as Secretary of Treasury under Chester A. Arthur, built this house in 1881. The house was handsomely furnished, and the Frelinghuysen’s entertained lavishly, with former President Arthur among their many guests. 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.

The property was purchased by John Reardon in 1993 and converted to an inn. It was purchased by J & N Inn, LLC in 2005 and then by the Frederick LLC in 2010.


1894 Barnes and Jenks Map, 1893 Sanborn Map

The new book of Berkshire Clark W. Bryan, 1890

Lenox- Massachusetts Shire town. David H. Wood, 1969

Berkshire Atheneum – clipping file

Lenox Library archives

Lenox Assessor’s database 2011


51 Walker St., Harley Procter House, 1912

51 Walker St., Harley Proctor House - c. 1912
51 Walker St., Harley Procter House – c. 1912

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


This Classical Revival style building has two stories, an asphalt shingle roof, and is intact. It has a 5-bay street façade, wood frame and a flat roof with an encircling balustrade. There are modillions on the overhanging eaves of the wood clapboard siding. There are paneled corner pilasters and wood clapboard siding. There are intact 6-o-1 windows with lipped window headers on 1st floor. There is a 2-story rear ell with a small brick rear wall chimney. The Left side of the house has a flat-roofed entrance porch, with a balustrade, paneled pillars & matching pilasters.


Stanford White died in June of 1906–it is unlikely that he designed any part of this house, though perhaps features of it were based on his earlier designs; there was a previous house located on this site per 1875 Map (labeled “G.O.Peck”) & on 1893, 1898, 1905 & 1911 Sanborn maps; the house could have been constructed as early as 1912, but also somewhat later.

Built as a summer home for Harley Procter, of the firm of Procter and Gamble, the house is said to have been designed to resemble a bar of Ivory Soap. The Procters occupied the house for just a short time, selling it in 1919 to Graham Root, who used it as a real estate office. Subsequent uses included a charm school in the 1930’s, a guesthouse, and office space. In 1942 it became Gateways Inn, by which name it is still known. In the 1970’s and 80’s it was owned by Gehard and Lilliane Schmid and was purchased by Vito Perulli on June22, 1988. Current Gateways Inn owners (as of June, 28, 1996) are Fabrizio Chiariello and Rosemary MacDonald Chiariello.


1875, 1893, 1898, 1905 and 1911 Sanborn Maps

Gehard and Lilliane Schmid (owners of Gateway, Inn)

Lenox, Massachusetts Shire Town. David Wood, 1969

Conversations with local residents

Lenox Assessor’s database 2012

Ventfort Hall Gilded Age Museum


Ventfort Hall Gilded Age Museum at 104 Walker St. was built by George and Sarah Morgan as their summer home. It is an imposing Jacobean Revival mansion that typifies the Gilded Age in Lenox. Sarah, the sister of J. Pierpont Morgan, purchased the property in 1891, and hired Rotch & Tilden, prominent Boston architects, to design the house.

Ventfort Replaces Vent Fort

It replaced an earlier house named Vent Fort (strong wind) on the same location.



The original Vent Fort was owned by the Ogden Haggerty family of Boston.  Their daughter, Annie Haggerty Shaw, married Robert Gould Shaw, who led the Mass 54th (the first African American regiment as portrayed in the film “Glory,”) during the Civil War.


Ventfort Hall - then432IMG_2386

Now on 11.7 acres, Ventfort Hall was originally the centerpiece of a large landscaped garden of 26 acres. The mansion, constructed of brick with brownstone trim, has an impressive porte cochère covering the entrance while the rear of the house, which once had a long view to the south of the Stockbridge Bowl and Monument Mountain, has a wood veranda along its entire length.
Described at the time of its completion as “one of the most beautiful places in Lenox,” the house had “28 rooms, including 15 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and 17 fireplaces.” Typical of the period, the interior features a soaring three-story great hall and staircase with wood paneling detailing. Other rooms include an elegant salon, paneled library, a dining room, a billiard room and bowling alley. It was designed with all the latest modern amenities, numerous ingeniously ventilated bathrooms, combined gas and electric light fixtures, an elevator, burglar alarms and central heating. The property contained several outbuildings, including two gatehouses, a carriage house/stable and six greenhouses.
After the deaths of both Sarah and George Morgan, the house was rented for several years to a young widow, Margaret Vanderbilt, whose husband, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, had died on the Lusitania.

Ventfort Hall Gilded Age Museum

In 1925, W. Roscoe and Mary Minturn Bonsal purchased the house after seven years as tenants. Bonsal, a prominent figure in the expansion of railroads throughout the southeast, built the first cross-state railroad in Florida and served as president and treasurer of the North & South Carolina Railway and the South Carolina Western Railway.
After the Bonsals sold Ventfort hall in 1945, the house had a series of owners and was used as a dormitory for Tanglewood students, a summer hotel, the Fokine Ballet Summer Camp and housing for a religious community.
In the mid-1980s the property was sold to a nursing home developer who wanted to demolish the building.

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In response to this threat, a local preservation group, The Ventfort Hall Association (VHA), was formed in 1994. On June 13, 1997, with the help of many private donations and loans, and with a five-year loan from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, VHA purchased the property and has extensively restored the façade, first and second floors.

IMG_8145 gable topScreen shot 2012-02-16 at 3_11_21 PMIMG_2384

(see www.gildedage.org)