Tag Archives: Homestead

Lenox as a Resort – Cliffwood Cottages

Cliffwood  has so many lovely homes today that they could all be considered estates in modern terms.  For the sake of manageability, this enumeration is limited to those that have been written up as “cottages.”


Osceola - 1889
Osceola – 1889

Known as Osceola, 25 Cliffwood was built for Mr. and Mrs. Edward Livingston in 1889 by Rotch and Tilden.  It has been used as a retreat for General Electric  and an Inn.  It is currently a private residence.

Sunnyridge I & II

Sunny ridge - 1884
Sunnyridge – 1884

This house was built as a summer home by Mr. and Mrs. George Folsom in 1884.  AT the time it would have been next to the (also later burned) Homestead on Cliffwood St.

The half timbered house was designed by Charles Coolidge Haight.  Houses of the Berkshires* contains wonderful stories about the life and times in this book laden old house.

Mr. Folsom was the law partner to President Grover Cleveland. Miss Frances Folsom married the President in the first White House wedding. She was 22 years old and President Cleveland was 50 at the time.

Sunnyridge Replacement (49 Cliffwood) - 1925
Sunnyridge Replacement (49 Cliffwood) – 1926

In 1925 the original house was destroyed by fire and it was rebuilt the following year. Built in the English cottage style, the new house was designed by Delano and Aldrich.

The Homestead

Homestead – 1885

Completed in 1885, The Homestead was designed by Charles McKim with landscaping by Frederick Law Olmsted.  His client, Julia Amory Appleton (1859-1887) must have been pleased with his beautiful design as she married the recently divorced McKim the same day her sister married George von Lengerke Meyer.  Tragically she died two years later and McKim sold the Homestead to Anson and Helen Stokes in 1889.

Julia Amory Appleton McKim
Julia Amory Appleton McKim

They expanded the house (a lot) foreshadowing their future edifice – Shadow Brook.  In 1905, when the house was rented to the Eric Dahlgren family, it burned to the ground. Fearing a takeover by “outsiders” George Folsom, Morris Jessup, John E. Parsons and Grenville Winthrop bought the site.  The Homestead was replaced in 1914 and 1915 by 57 and 61 Cliffwood Street, designed by Harding & Seaver.

71 Cliffwood
71 Cliffwood

Although the numbers do not match the Harding and Seaver home shown here is described as being on one of the lots formerly occupied by The Homestead.


Breezy Corners

35 Greenwood Street
35 Greenwood Street

This Greenwood Street property primarily fronts on Cliffwood.   As an 1870’s farmhouse expanded over the years, it is more typical of earlier summer homes than the other more elaborate architectural cottages on Cliffwood.  It is most often written up because it sheltered one of America’s most prestigious families — the Biddles of Philadelphia..  Their Quaker ancestors came to Philadelphia before American Revolution and had been active in science, law and banking ever since.  Mrs. Jonathan Williams Biddle bought the property in 1886.  Her daughter, Miss Emily Biddle came there every summer until her death in 1931.  She was a founding member of the Lenox Horticultural Society and active in the Tub Parade and other Lenox activities.  The property is a private home.


Belvoir Terrace 1891
Belvoir Terrace  (80 Cliffwood St.) – 1891

Belvoir Terrace was designed by Rotch & Tilden and built between 1888-1890 for Morris K. Jesup, with landscaping by Frederick Law Olmsted.  Facing Cliffwood Street and with a “side” entrance on Greenwood Street, this highly fanciful property also had an entrance from Main Street, next to Church on the Hill.

Morris K. Jesup (1830-1908)
Morris K. Jesup (1830-1908)

Morris K. Jessup (1830-1908) was a successful banker and a notable philanthropist. His philanthropic activities included backing Robert Peary’s Arctic expedition and being president of the Museum of Natural History.  He was, along with several other super wealthy Lenox cottagers, in the Georgia Jekyll Island Club.

Belvoir is currently an arts and music camp. It is easily visible from Cliffwood Street.


Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.08.19 PM
Underledge – 1889

Underledge, still standing as a handsome private residence, was built for Mr. and Mrs. Joseph W. Burden.

Little has been found about the Burdens other than regular references in the social columns to her teas and his golfing prowess.


Rocklawn - 1888
Rocklawn (89 Cliffwood St.)  – 1888

Once part of Windyside, this home was built for William and Elizabeth Stone Bacon.




Deepen - 1886
Deepen – 1886

Up the street from Rocklawn Francis Parker Kinnicutt and Eleanora Kissel Kinicutt built Deepened in 1886.  The final home on the tour, Deepdene, was constructed as a Colonial Revival summer cottage on Cliffwood Street in 1886. Deepdene was designed by Bruce Price, an important New York architect. The owners were the socially prominent Dr. Francis and Mrs. Eleanora Kinnicutt. Edith Wharton was one of the doctor’s patients and encouraged her to move to the Berkshires. The entrance is directly into a soaring stairhall while many porches originally overlooked the expansive green of the Lenox Club golf course.   The golf course has now been re-absorbed by the woods.


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

124 Yokun Ave., Homestead Carriage House – 1884

The Homestead_NEW

124 Yokun Av
124 Yokun Ave., Homestead Carriage House – 1884

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This small 1-story, wood-frame building was converted from a carriage house to a dwelling, year unknown. Since it has been adapted for residential use, with a few added features, it could be categorized as “Colonial Revival. It is sided with stucco, which may or may not be its original cladding. It has a hipped roof with wide overhanging eaves and a vent cupola. Roofing consists of asphalt shingles and standing seam metal. There is a brick interior chimney. The front facade, facing Yokun Avenue on the north, has five bays asymmetrically organized. A front gabled entrance porch is located at the far left edge. It has a standing seam metal roof with barrel-vaulted ceiling and is supported by two simple pillars. Metal side railings have been added. Beneath the porch roof and to the right of the front door is a set of two casement windows. The front door looks to have been replaced. Farther to the right on the front facade are two sets of three casement windows and two sets of two casement windows, from left to right. The rear facade is distinguished by two canted pavilions with hipped roofs. Between them is a gabled wall dormer. A broken-eave dormer with eave returns and a set of three casement windows is centered on the right side. The left (east) side has a small bump-out that has a hipped standing seam metal roof. The foundation is constructed of large rough-faced cut stones. Skylights have been added to the roof. Decorative window blinds are additions. A wood privacy fence runs along the east property line/Cliffwood Street right-of-way and turns the corner to run along Yokun Avenue up to the driveway entrance off Yokun. Another section of privacy fencing extends right from the right front corner of the building. Coniferous and deciduous shrubs also provide screening from the roadways. And there are specimen and ornamental trees in the small yard.


This carriage house was part of the original estate The Homestead. After the fire at Homestead, the property was divided into two sections. The carriage house became the property of Miss Annie May Hegeman. The house and carriage house stayed in the family until William and Aleid Channing sold the house in 1973. The Channing’s converted the carriage house in 1970. From 1973 until 1982 Evelyn C. Clarkson owned the converted carriage house. Dr. Norman Solomon acquired the property in 1982.


Lenox Town Hall Records

Mrs. Marcia Brown

American Country Houses of the Gilded Age p.13

71 Cliffwood St., Annie May Hegeman House – c.1925

71 Cliffwood St., Annie May Hegeman House - 1925
71 Cliffwood St., Annie May Hegeman House – 1925

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This is an Arts and Crafts-style house, the inspiration of which was rooted in English Cottage architecture. The 2-story, 4-bay house is constructed of clay tile and has a stucco finish. Bricks face the foundation. It has a gable roof clad with asphalt shingles. There are four large interior brick chimneys with caps. The entry porch has a steeply pitched gable roof with flaring eaves and exposed rafters, supported by massive wood pillars atop painted and stucco’ed brick knee-walls. The door surround has 2/3rds-length, 4-pane sidelights. A 2-story cross-gabled pavilion is on the right side of the front facade. Its roof extends down to the first floor on the right side with a shed-roofed dormer. The pavilion contains a secondary front entry flanked by 4-light windows and a 1-story gabled garage wing with two left-facing vehicle bays extends forward of it, attached with a breezeway. Behind this pavilion there is a small lean-to with porch and rear entry that extends from the rear right side of the main house (facing Yokun Avenue). There are two rear ells: One is two stories with a cross-gabled roof located near the center of the main gabled section. The second is a single story porch under an extension of the main roof with a dormer. Sets of three and four 8-light casement windows are located on the first floor front and side facades, while paired 4-o-4 double hung windows are on the second floor and on the first floor to the right of the entrance. The second floor windows have authentic window blinds.

There is a stone wall along the front property line of Cliffwood Street right-of-way with curved sections at the driveway entrance off of Cliffwood Street. The driveway circles around in front of the house with a treed median. There is a brick patio that extends along the rear of the house. An in-ground swimming pool is located in the rear yard. Yokun Avenue borders the right side and rear property lines.

This house was almost certainly designed by Seaver since Harding died in 1921.

NOTE: The 1905 Sanborn Map depicts the previous property, labeled “Homestead” with two accessory buildings at the corner of Yokun and Cliffwood streets.

Harding and Seaver Architects

George C. Harding (1867-4/23/1921)

“Senior member of the firm of Harding & Seaver, architects of several noted public buildings in the New England area. Mr. Harding was a native and life-long citizen of Pittsfield, educated in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and had been active professionally since 1896. After working alone for a time, in 1902 he formed a partnership with Henry M. Seaver, and under the firm name acquired a wide and successful practice. His most important works include the following buildings: Museum of Natural History and Art at Pittsfield, 1907; the Y.M.C.A. Building, 1908; Lathrop Hall, 1905, and Memorial Chapel, 1914, at Colgate University, Hamilton, N.Y.; Town Hall at Lenox, Mass., 1903, and Colby Academy at New London, N.H. Mr. Harding also designed a number of fine homes, one distinguished example being the country house of former Senator Crane at Dalton, Mass.” [1]

From MACRIS List – Sept. 16, 2008

Inv. No Property Name Street City/Town Year Built
LEN.25 Lenox Town Hall 6 Walker St Lenox 1901
LEN.296 Slater, William House 249 Under Mountain Rd Lenox 1901
LEN.23 Curtis Hotel 6 Main St Lenox 1829
LEN.19 Hagyard, Frank C. Store 36 Main St Lenox 1910
LEN.100 Hegeman, Annie May House 61 Cliffwood St Lenox 1925
LEN.26 Lenox Fire House 14 Walker St Lenox 1909
LEN.29 Peters, Leonard C. Block 46-50 Walker St Lenox 1917


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.[2] By 1903 he had entered into a partnership with George C. Harding that lasted until Harding’s death in 1921.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]


The home was built by Miss Annie May Hegeman in the 1920’s after the Homestead property was divided. The house stayed in the family until 1973 when William and Aleid Channing sold the home to Charles and Beverly Capers. The Capers sold the house in 1977 to Haldor B. Reinholt and in 2002 it was acquired by Eugenia D. Reinholt.


1905 Sanborn Map

Lenox Town Hall Records

Mrs. Haldor Reinholt

Lenox: Massachusetts Shire Town, David Wood p. 187

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

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

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

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

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