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BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage

keberoxu 19 Jan 22 - 12:15 PM
keberoxu 19 Jan 22 - 05:14 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Jan 22 - 05:52 PM
keberoxu 19 Jan 22 - 06:20 PM
Sandra in Sydney 20 Jan 22 - 01:50 AM
leeneia 20 Jan 22 - 01:45 PM
Joe Offer 20 Jan 22 - 02:28 PM
keberoxu 20 Jan 22 - 03:42 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Jan 22 - 04:50 PM
JennieG 20 Jan 22 - 06:55 PM
keberoxu 20 Jan 22 - 08:19 PM
keberoxu 20 Jan 22 - 08:33 PM
keberoxu 20 Jan 22 - 08:58 PM
keberoxu 20 Jan 22 - 09:20 PM
keberoxu 20 Jan 22 - 10:02 PM
keberoxu 20 Jan 22 - 10:19 PM
Thompson 21 Jan 22 - 01:02 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Jan 22 - 01:07 PM
keberoxu 22 Jan 22 - 04:00 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Jan 22 - 07:09 PM
meself 22 Jan 22 - 07:54 PM
keberoxu 22 Jan 22 - 08:29 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 22 - 10:53 PM
meself 23 Jan 22 - 11:54 AM
leeneia 24 Jan 22 - 11:21 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Jan 22 - 11:31 AM
meself 24 Jan 22 - 12:23 PM
keberoxu 24 Jan 22 - 01:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Jan 22 - 02:26 PM
meself 24 Jan 22 - 03:52 PM
EBarnacle 24 Jan 22 - 10:09 PM
keberoxu 24 Jan 22 - 10:38 PM
leeneia 25 Jan 22 - 03:12 PM
keberoxu 26 Jan 22 - 11:44 AM
meself 26 Jan 22 - 12:43 PM
leeneia 27 Jan 22 - 12:49 PM
keberoxu 29 Jan 22 - 09:53 PM
keberoxu 31 Jan 22 - 09:50 PM

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Subject: BS: the Vanderbilts and World War I
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 Jan 22 - 12:15 PM

Current answer to that question: nobody will.
This is, mind you, the USA's Gilded Age answer to "summer cottage,"
which means it is located away from New York City or Washington D.C.,
intended for the denizens of same on their summer vacations,
and it looks like anything but a cottage!
I was so shocked (me from the Great Lakes region)
the first time I found out what these "cottages" really were --
they are for the one-per-cent, of course, and they are monstrous,
huge things.
Someone has well described these homes as "private hotels",
complete with their own greenhouses and carriage barns.

This particular cottage is not far from the Tanglewood summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in southwestern Massachusetts, in the Berkshire range of Appalachian mountains.
It was named Elm Court for elm trees which have since died.
The Vanderbilt descendants sold this property generations ago.

It's on the market now, all eighty-nine acres of it.
And one of the things the brokers and agents and sellers always say,
is that the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles
were approached here with preliminary talks,
either in the house, or on the stone porch around the house, or something.

So I thought I ought to look this up. Here's what I found.
A grandchild of Cornelius Vanderbilt bought this land and built this stately home.
Their children spent their summers there.
The father of the children (not a Vanderbilt) died,
and left this Vanderbilt granddaughter a widow -- a wealthy one.

Her social connections included the recently widowed Henry White
who had been US Ambassador back in the time of Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.
So that was the Vanderbilt granddaughter's second marriage.
And it was retired Ambassador Henry White, during the Woodrow Wilson administration,
who brought I-know-not-whom to his "summer home" for informal talks in 1919. Thus, the selling point of Elm Court.

Henry White, who was by then a senior citizen, was very much in favor of the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles,
but he was up against Woodrow Wilson and Henry Cabot Lodge (US Senator), who were rather entirely opposed to both --
and so the United States was part of neither.

Nobody will buy Elm Court because it is just too much.
Thirty-three bedrooms in the manor, if I read right;
forty-six bedrooms if you count the outlying buildings for caretakers and service staff.

The property has changed hands, since the Vanderbilt descendants sold it,
to firms and businesses who wanted the property for the hospitality industry.
Two things always get in the way.
One, the cost of renovations --
the house stood empty for decades and was the repeated target of vandals,
and the recent renovations were never completed, although it's better than it was.
Two, the neighbors.
The street/road is a residential one, lined with private homes,
and the neighbors want it to stay that way.

So there it sits.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 Jan 22 - 05:14 PM

If the attempted link in this post is working, it will show
the property agency advertisement.


Elm Court Estate, a former Vanderbilt Berkshire Cottage


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jan 22 - 05:52 PM

That's a rather grim and drafty isolated place, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 Jan 22 - 06:20 PM

The photographs of the basement certainly look that way!

It's actually a mile from the center of the town of Lenox,
and although the Elms in question have been cut down,
there are still trees everywhere.

One of the weird things about this property is that somehow
the Vanderbilt lady acquired land that overlapped
the town boundary line between Lenox and Stockbridge to the south.
So, as far as I may make out,
the big fat manor house, with the gates, sits in Lenox,
while the outlying buildings, greenhouses, and fields are in Stockbridge ...


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 01:50 AM

... the house stood empty for decades and was the repeated target of vandals, and the recent renovations were never completed, although it's better than it was. ...

the realters must have had fun putting furniture in to make it look
lived in by very rich people & therefor attractive to other etremely rich people who want a dream home or stately home/palace/superior village!

looks a bit empty, doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: leeneia
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 01:45 PM

Don't ask me why I do it, but I have looked at many a video about a mega-mansion for sale, and this one is more appealing than most. In many of them, somebody hired a bunch of guys with paint sprayers to go through and paint everything one color, usually a stark, frozen white.

Oops, gotta go.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 02:28 PM

I really enjoy seeing and sometimes touring old mansions, and I like to see them preserved. There are some particularly interesting ones in the Berkshires around Stockbridge, Massachusetts. They're so expensive to maintain, but I hate to see them lost. I see that this one had been vandalized and was in sad shape. Somebody restored it was was using it as a Bed & Breakfast, and now it's up for sale. But use as a B&B is a great idea.

Here's a video of the house: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJggDnTcNoE

and another:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wkoA8o0ZGk


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 03:42 PM

Well, I apologize for the out-and-out wrong statements
regarding history in the opening post.

The armistice following the Great War was uncommonly tense
for practicing politics and negotiating compromises.
US President Woodrow Wilson was bitterly opposed to COMPROMISE.
The whole civilized world knows, contrary to what I stated,
that Woodrow Wilson was wholeheartedly in favor
of the League of Nations. He just didn't want to negotiate about it.

Former Ambassador Henry White, who at the end of his long life
lived in this stately home as the husband of a born Vanderbilt,
found himself going back and forth in the peace process between
President Wilson and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.
White certainly wanted something to be worked out and agreed to,
and White very much wanted the United States to be in on it.

Cabot Lodge had the US Legislative branch to work with, and
Wilson's way of overriding the US Congress with his own executive prerogative pitted Wilson and Lodge against each other in the peace process.

I have made a fast and sloppy review of writings about the armistice, the Treaty of Versailles, and the League of Nations,
that is, from the point of view of Senator Lodge, Wilson, and White.

I still cannot locate, anywhere in this considerable literature,
a definite confirmation that former Ambassador Henry White brought anybody back to the Vanderbilt 'cottage' in Lenox, Massachusetts,
where they weighed the obstacles to world peace.
If the meeting was with President Woodrow Wilson, I would be shocked,
because that was not Wilson's style.
More likely, Henry White's guest would have been someone like
Senator Lodge, with whom White often exchanged letters;
letters between them are regularly quoted in books about Lodge's career.
Henry Cabot Lodge has more than one biographer or writer about him;
I can't locate any writer who wrote a book dedicated to Henry White,
who was too much behind the scenes and not the most public of figures.

Goodness, there's a lot there.
More and more, Woodrow Wilson stands out as an anomaly,
a crusader and a bit of a martyr, surrounded by politicians,
and with his Fourteen Points at the Paris Peace Conference,
Wilson spread his wings and soared high over the opposition.
"Exalted" is a word often used to describe his oratory.
He did not long survive the failure of the attempts to
bring the United States to joing the League of Nations.
Okay, better leave that subject.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 04:50 PM

Interesting video from Bob Vila, thanks Joe. It still isn't an inviting house, and it's clearly a money pit. If they started the work in 2012 and then stopped, one can ask "what happened?" The work appears to have just stopped. Maybe it's just the time of year I'm watching these videos, with the impression that it would be difficult to stay warm in the winter in that house.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: JennieG
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 06:55 PM

The detail on the walls is amazing......would it originally have had the fancy detailing picked out in another colour, or in white? Seeing it all one colour does my head in.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 08:19 PM

Articles online demonstrate a fair amount of journalist attention
to the Elm Court Estate since the time of the original generation of owners,
so the place is much talked about even when it is vacant.

You can look at this article
for the following information, which is just quotes and summaries.

In 1958, Elm Court was closed as a hotel/B&B;
the then-owners had other properties to worry about.
The big manor stood vacant.

However, buildings on the estate that continued to be used were:
the greenhouses, as sources for a commercial nursery;
the gardener's house, for the home of the nursery founder and estate superintendent;
the butler's house, rented to a local family while the manor "remained vacant and unattended."

When the nursery/florist venture was given up,
another attempt at a B&B went on for several years.
Until 2012, the manor was a venue for weddings and special events.

Then a Denver-based private real-estate management firm called Amstar,
through a subsidiary company named Travaasa,
acquired the property, keeping on locals as "general managers".

How Travaasa/Amstar lost Elm Court is a story of fairly recent times,
and must be continued in another post.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 08:33 PM

Then, as the opening post of this thread pointed out, there are the neighbors.
The Old Stockbridge Road Neighborhood Association, which has members
in more than one town in Berkshire County,
has its own website and its own blog.

Their entries concerning Elm Court go back to 2014
and these people are UP IN ARMS -- look at the blog entries and see for yourself.

Consider this quote from Annie Selke, dated 2014, a local CEO
who has spent her whole life in Berkshire County.

"When I first heard that Elm Court was being sold and developed into a country house hotel
along the lines of Wheatleigh (21 rooms) and Blantyre (19 rooms),
I thought it was a wonderful fit for the neighborhood
and would be consistent with the Berkshire brand.
But when the plan escalated dramatically to
112 rooms, a spa and a 60-seat restaurant geared toward a mid-market demographic,
I got concerned."

the Neighborhood Association blog posts tagged "elm court


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 08:58 PM

By the year 2015, local journalists were starting to pull back from
the enthusiasm around corporate development of private manors,
and to look at historical precedents and future consequences.
For example, Carole Owens, byline on a January 13, 2015 post to the Berkshire Edge.

the Connections column: Corporations gilding the preservation lily


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 09:20 PM

So much for the economic complications, about which there is
more discussion and more coverage
to those willing to go online and search for it.

A different perspective is provided by this overview of
Frederic Law Olmsted and his architectural firm,
at a webpage presented by the National Park Service.

Frederic Law Olmstead National Historic Site


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 10:02 PM

FINALLY. I thought I would never find an explicit claim in favor
of that "selling point" in the original post.

". . . Henry White, who had been the U.S. Ambassador to Italy and France and a member of the American Commission negotiating the peace after World War I. Shortly after the war, the "Elm Court Talks" were held at the mansion to plan the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. In 1919, under the elm [tree], White hosted a meeting of President Woodrow Wilson, Neville Chamberlain, Joseph Pershing, French Marshall Ferdinand Foch and other world leaders to discuss the formation of the League."

The preceding assertion is embedded in an article with the byline of Joanna Fribush, Editorial Staff, the newsletter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Issue dated Winter 2011, page 4.


!!
I think a large grain of salt ought to be taken with that assertion.
At the very least, SOMEWHERE there really ought to be a better documented, critically edited version of the preceding, so it does not sound utterly fantastic.

1919 was to be sure a VERY busy year, with the 1918 armistice newly agreed to, and all the events that led up to the Treaty of Versailles, and the founding of the League of Nations.
Having said that, this incident, if a truthful one, must be recorded somewhere or other.
I may not be the person to hunt down something more substantial
to either prove or disprove this statement.
But it begs for attention, in my opinion.


I'm presently at the website Office of the Historian, Department of State, USA (gov),
using its search function.
There is a heck of a lot there about the Paris Peace Conference.
About Elm Court in Lenox, Massachusetts, I don't find a darned thing.
But if I Do find something,
you all will be the first to hear about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jan 22 - 10:19 PM

If nothing else discredits that quote in the post before this one,
it would be dropping the name of Neville Chamberlain,
who made history during
the Second World War,
and not during the First World War.

I thought it was a fantastic thing to print.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Jan 22 - 01:02 PM

Twelve million? That's a dear cottage!


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Jan 22 - 01:07 PM

Here it is on Zillow.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 22 Jan 22 - 04:00 PM

Disregard this post,
if you want to hear no more about Henry White,
onetime head of the household at this property,
or about the American Peace Commission at the Paris Peace Conference.

I'm still hunting down anything that might substantiate
the rather bold claim that Elm Court, the enormous "cottage"
in Lenox, Massachusetts, hosted informal conversations
with the Allied luminaries from the Great War
before they all went off to Paris to create the League of Nations
and draft the Treaty of Versailles.
So far it all sounds more myth than anything.

A facetious remark by Prime Minister David Lloyd George about his fellow statesmen in Paris:
"The old Tiger wants the Grizzly Bear back in the Rocky Mountains
before he starts tearing up the German Hog."
Tiger -- Clemenceau (France)
Bear -- Wilson (United States)

Henry White, the career diplomat and former ambassador, always gets a name-check in anything about Woodrow Wilson's attendance at the Paris Peace Conference, since White was there with Wilson. But this business about meeting in Massachusetts at White's 'cottage' -- it seems to come under the heading of old-fashioned diplomacy behind the scenes. I have yet to find any serious writer supporting this myth.
It is true, however, that Henry White had a biographer: Allan Nevins wrote a book about him, now long out of print. I'm going to hunt for a copy.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Jan 22 - 07:09 PM

Henry White: Thirty Years of American Diplomacy by Allan Nevins. Harper & Brothers, 1930.

A Worldcat search shows it in most of the university libraries in my area, so perhaps you'll find a similar result in your area. They may have access to an online version. I can't find that one exists, at least not one downloadable through my university. They have the book on the shelf on the Central Library 4th floor.

These are part of the contents:
Taft, Roosevelt, Wilson: the world in arms --
America at war: the foundations of peace --
Peace Conference: the Council of Ten --
Peace Conference: Wilson and Lodge --
Peace Conference: the crucial phase --
Peace Conference: rejection of the treaty --


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: meself
Date: 22 Jan 22 - 07:54 PM

Well, when I was younger I might have made an offer - but now, I'm put off a little by the thought of vacuuming all those floors. Not to mention, that's a big lawn to mow. No, I think I'll stay where I am .....


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 22 Jan 22 - 08:29 PM

Meanwhile, back at the 'cottage' ...

while I can't scare up, online, the Henry White biography,
I did stumble across a book of memoirs out of the Winthrop family
who were part of the Gilded Age one-per-cent,
the staggeringly wealthy people who built the 'cottage' stately homes.

Some quotes.

"Lenox [Massachusetts], however, had not escaped the architectural excesses of the Gilded Age. As one writer put it, 'The town was . . . an inland Newport [Rhode Island] where blue mountains [the Berkshires] were the equivalent of sand and rolling surf.' As in Newport, the rich competed in buying up the most magnificent view and building the most eye-catching dwelling. . . ninety-three 'cottages' went up in Lenox and Stockbridge between 1880 and 1910 ..."

"Burglary was always a risk . . . The cottagers became so apprehensive about theft that they even began counting the harvest of their gardens and greenhouses. The superintendent of Elm Court, the ample spread of multi-millionairess Emily Thorn Vanderbilt [Sloane] White, for example, knew if even one peach had disappeared in the night."

"Lenox had clasped to its own bosom a writer, a sculptor, and a painter. Author Edith Wharton would become the most famous of them all, and at the turn of the century had already made a name of herself with The Decoration of Houses. Also in summer residence were sculptor Daniel Chester French, who would create the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial; Frederic Crowninshield, painter of murals and watercolors, whose son, Frank C., would become the famed editor of Vanity Fair magazine; and the editors of Century Magazine, Richard Watson Gilder and Robert Underwood Johnson. In addition, there were the collectors -- Grenville Winthrop, Giraud Foster, and Robert Warden Patterson."


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 22 - 10:53 PM

Meself, when I was younger, I made THREE Offers. They're all grown up now. The baby is over forty....


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: meself
Date: 23 Jan 22 - 11:54 AM

No kind offer goes unpunished ... !


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: leeneia
Date: 24 Jan 22 - 11:21 AM

I read somewhere on the Internet that mega-mansions are a drug on the market now. Certainly there are plenty of them on YouTube, most of which are probably for sale. Stark white walls and swimming pools (maybe plus a reflecting pool) seem to be de rigueur, at least for the modern ones. If the comments by the public are right, most of them are intended for superrich to have parties in. Certainly none of them look like they are intended for a family.

Mega-mansion joke:

Mother to kid: Go to your room!
Nine minutes later: Slam!

I think they pull the prices out of a hat.

For an old mansion, the Vanderbilt place seems to be in good shape. Too bad about Covid, which is damping travel and hotel stays. Keb says it has 89 acres of land, and why couldn't some of that be sold off for tasteful development? Except that who knows how long the unvaccinated will keep Covid going?

Remember that poem about "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone"? For the recent equivalent, go on YouTube and search for "abandoned mansion."


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jan 22 - 11:31 AM

I can see that real estate would be great for money laundering. But then, Trump has known that for decades.

Nice to know that Edith Wharton visited there.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: meself
Date: 24 Jan 22 - 12:23 PM

Edith Wharton had a mansion of her own - "The Strand", I believe she named it - but it looks like a real cottage beside that Vanderbilt monstrosity. And it was her year-round house. And when I think of The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, etc., I don't begrudge her her luxury.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 Jan 22 - 01:47 PM

Edith Wharton's estate, The Mount, is now a public attraction in its own right, in the town of Lenox.

HBO, I think it is, has a mini-series going on called "The Gilded Age" centered in New York City. The New York Times has just panned it in their reviews, lamenting that many talented actors are not given enough to say or do, and that the whole thing is largely uninteresting.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jan 22 - 02:26 PM

From the same fellow who threw plot points at the wall in Downton Abbey; if they didn't attract viewer's attention he just dropped them and moved on. He's making his living serving up small portions of La Belle Epoque.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: meself
Date: 24 Jan 22 - 03:52 PM

"many talented actors are not given enough to say or do, and ... the whole thing is largely uninteresting" - sounds in keeping with The Gilded Age - Edith Wharton notwithstanding.

(And, yes, 'The Mount', not 'The Strand' - ty).


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: EBarnacle
Date: 24 Jan 22 - 10:09 PM

As with Ozymandias, I wonder how many of the multimillion dollar yachts and residences in 100 years.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 Jan 22 - 10:38 PM

Meself, The Strand didn't come out of nowhere regarding Wharton:
there was a periodical called The Strand which published some of her short stories.
That just wasn't the name of the house.

EBarnacle, you got it right about Leeneia's quote source for
the two vast and trunkless legs of stone, I believe.

Joe Offer kindly provided links to video of Bob Vila the "Home Again" host,
and what he linked to was a single episode (you can see where the advertisement breaks were).
And it does appear that there are follow-up episodes. Now,
I haven't watched these, I only did some searching for them,
and I honestly don't know if they work or not.
But here they are --
rather than be redundant and duplicate what's in Joe Offer's earlier post,
I'm going to start these links where Bob Vila (and Joe Offer) left off.

Sound Insulation and Restored Rooms at Elm Court

Elm Court Decor and Ongoing Restoration


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: leeneia
Date: 25 Jan 22 - 03:12 PM

I agree with you EBarnacle. My own little home is over 100 years old, but I believe few big mansions are that old and still are family homes. Some may be hotels or guest houses.

People like to sneer at the modern home called the McMansion, but I have been in some, and they are nice to live in. Good climate control, intelligent kitchens, places to gather and places to sleep. The principle of the mega-mansion is to take 6 to 12 McMansions and squash them together. It doesn't work.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Jan 22 - 11:44 AM

Leeneia's metaphor of several "McMansions" squashed together
describes the Elm Court main house, oddly enough.
Except these are called "wings" but they are pretty monstrous wings!
There is, for example, a bachelor wing ... need I say more??
Then there is the wing which Emily Vanderbilt Sloane had built on
for her namesake daughter Emily.
Daughter Emily had just married John Henry Hammond and begun a family.
So, daughter and family got their own custom-built wing.
Guess who is descended from Mrs. John Henry Hammond?

John Hammond, the record producer of popular American music (20th century). So this could almost bump the subject into the music threads.

Meanwhile, back at the cottage ...

A descendant of Emily Vanderbilt Sloane is an alumna of Smith College.
I'm going to include, in this post, a link to a page for
alumni of Smith College,
because it profiles said descendant.
The lineage, as I can piece it together, looks like this:

grandfather: Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (railroads)
         |
         |
Emily Vanderbilt Sloane , married Henry White, built Elm Court
         |
         |
Lila Sloane Field, daughter: bred cattle at High Lawn Farm, Lenox
         |
         |
Marjorie Field Wilde, inherited Elm Court Estate in Lenox
         |
         |
Lila Wilde Berle, Smith '58, lived at High Lawn Farm (her brother owned it)
         |
         |
Robert "Bob" Berle: bought, renovated, then sold Elm Court estate



And here, in her own words (interview) is Lila Wilde Berle, Vanderbilt descendent.
"I haven't been to a hairdresser in forty years"


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: meself
Date: 26 Jan 22 - 12:43 PM

Well, I shouldn't be too snide: my mother's family followed the same principle of adding a new wing - even if just a couple of rooms - every generation since the original little farmhouse was built ... until my aunt and uncle moved out to the old folks' whoops seniors' residence, and my cousin's kids having long before moved into their own places - nobody farms anymore - my cousin and his wife were left to themselves in a vast, rambling museum that cost a fortune to heat and maintain. So they sold it to a young couple who wanted to do a B&B business ... and that, after getting on to a couple of centuries, was the end of our family having any connection with it ...... So my heart goes out to the Vanderbilts! Sure it does ......


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Jan 22 - 12:49 PM

I few years ago, I visited Biltmore, the Vanderbilt mansion in Tennessee. It was both luxurious and depressing, except for the bowling alley in the basement and the big balcony on one side, where we were told the family spent most of their time.

Mrs. Vanderbilt took an active interest in the tenant farmers, seeing to it that they got educated and the children learned trades. Present-day descendants live nearby, presumably in a place that's more liveable. Maybe it's a McMansion.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 29 Jan 22 - 09:53 PM

I'm watching some of these Bob Vila videos
detailing the renovation job, some ten or fifteen years ago,
on Elm Court estates in Berkshire County.

Eventually the husband and wife (and two children)
household which was behind the renovating,
decided to stop it and to sell the property --
I guess there were family considerations, regarding the children.
And since then the property has either been
a corporate acquisition, with the neighbors fighting further development,
or it's been on the market with its unfinished renovations.

When that husband and wife couple doing the renovations
first got a look at the mansion in the winter,
the basement floor had four feet of snow piled up.


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Subject: RE: BS: who will buy the Vanderbilt cottage
From: keberoxu
Date: 31 Jan 22 - 09:50 PM

Delivery just happened of my order of a second-hand copy of
the Allan Nevins biography of Henry White the 'diplomatist'.
It's over five hundred pages in length.
I could not resist looking at a few chapters.

This whole business about the Elm Court stately home,
in Lenox, Massachusetts, hosting chats before the Paris Peace Conference,
seems predicated upon the person of Henry White,
who married a Vanderbilt heiress.

The Sloane family, who had the Elm Court property built in the first place,
moved in the social circles with Vanderbilts and so on
(they were Vanderbilts who married into the Sloane family);
and Henry White, with his wife Daisy, also socialized at that top echelon.
There is a statement by biographer Nevins that
Mr. and Mrs. Henry White, and Mr. and Mrs. Sloane,
were indeed on excellent terms with each other and
that the ladies/wives were particularly dear friends.

Then Mrs. Sloane became a widow, and Mr. White, a widower.
Both were senior citizens when they got married to each other ...
except that the marriage actually happened in 1920,
after Henry White had completed his last diplomatic assignment
as part of the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference.

In those days, when there was to be a summit/conference in Paris,
people did not board airplanes to get there.
They boarded ships, if going overseas, at any rate.

Henry White, along with the US President and the American delegates,
boarded ship on 8 December 2018, shortly after the Armistice.
He would not return to the United States for nearly twelve months,
although others of the Americans -- notably, President Woodrow Wilson --
would go back and forth across the Atlantic in support of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations.

So if these "Elm Court Talks", as the local myth has it,
required the presence of Ambassador Henry White,
then they would have to have taken place in Lenox
BEFORE the 8th of December in 2018 ...


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