Anyone that has followed me for long knows I am obsessed with two architecture styles, Dutch Renaissance and Colonial, and Tudors! Set back way off the street in Hopedale, Mass., sits this rambling Tudor Revival country estate. Built in 1926 for Eben Sumner Draper Jr. (1893-1959), the son of Massachusetts Governor and Draper Corporation owner Eben Sumner Draper, the home provided a secluded escape for the rich millionaire. The home was designed by Boston architects Bigelow & Wadsworth, and replaced his father’s Shingle style country mansion “The Ledges”. The new Draper mansion was highlighted in numerous architectural magazines shortly after it’s construction, which highlighted the amazing brickwork, layout, and interior finishes, all of which remain to today! This spectacular home is over 14,000 square feet and has 17 bedrooms, several located in the staff wing, 10 full baths and 4 half baths, an in-ground swimming pool, gazebo, tennis court, and landscape design attributed to the notable landscape architect Warren Manning. In the 1960s, the home sold out of the family and was used as a home for adults living with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses, physical disabilities, the facility has since sold the Draper mansion and occupies the former carriage house.
Perched high on Green Hill in Brookline, this house (named after the landscape feature) was built by Nathaniel Ingersoll in 1806. Ingersoll, born in Salem in 1778, was a ship captain and merchant, which perhaps explains why the house was built in the “Jamaica Planters” or “West Indies” idiom, a sub-type of Federal style. The style, fairly unique to this little area of Brookline features an overhanging roof supported by light columns to create a two-story arcade, once covered by climbing vines. The large Federal style carriage house once on the site was moved from its site to the grounds of the Shirley-Eustis House in Roxbury in the 1990s. In 1842, the estate was purchased by John Lowell Gardner who later willed the home to his son, John “Jack” Gardner and his wife, Isabella Stewart Gardner. The estate served as a summer getaway for the couple, who’s primary residence was on Beacon Street in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston (since demolished).
In Fairfield, Connecticut, land owned by Timothy Dwight, a minister and eighth President of Yale, a large farm once stood. The year after he was appointed to his position at Yale, he sold his farm Verna Farm, in 1796 to Isaac Bronson. The farm was eventually inherited by his grandson, Frederic Bronson. Dwight’s eighteenth-century house was eventually torn down in 1891 by Frederic’s son, Frederic Bronson, a wealthy New York City lawyer and socialite, who was included in Ward McAllister‘s “Four Hundred“, purported to be an index of New York’s best families, published in The New York Times. In 1892, Bronson hired starchitect Richard Morris Hunt, one of the greatest American architects of all time, to design a new country estate here. In 1933, the Bronson estate was acquired by W. A. Morschhauser, who had the house remodeled and made smaller in 1900; removing the third story and reducing the number of rooms from 42 to 13! Since 1949, the property has been occupied by the Fairfield Country Day School. The windmill as part of the estate was eventually gifted to the Town of Fairfield.
One of the most stunning homes (in my opinion) in the state of Connecticut is the David Kinne House in Plainfield. Located at the end of Old Black Hill Road, the massive Georgian home features two-story pilasters, a hipped roof with a monitor, and a gorgeous Palladian window over the south-facing entrance. The home was built atop Black Hill, so called as it was apparently often burned by Indian tribes nearby. When David Kinne (1736-1808) sought to develop the land for his home, he planted a double row of maple trees along a mile stretch of the road, with the suggestion the name be changed to Green Hill, it never took.