Monday, June 6, 2011


'Lauderdale', the Henry Hobart Porter estate designed by Barney & Chapman c. 1900 in Lawrence with landscaping by Martha Brooks Brown Hutcheson. A graduate of Columbia University School of Mines, Porter along with E.N. Sanderson founded the engineering firm of Sanderson & Porter in 1894. Through his engineering firm Porter would become the chairman of the board of the American Water Works & Electric Company after a reorganization. He was also a director at a dozen other companies including the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Co., the Ann Arbor Railroad Co. and Chemical Bank & Trust Co. In 1930 he was asked to head the Engineering Foundation which at the time was overseeing a five-year research program into iron and its alloys. Porter was also at one time president of the Village of Lawrence. Click HERE to see 'Lauderdale' on google earth and HERE on bing.

Click above to see 'Lauderdale' on a 1966 aerial shot. Photos from Architectural Record, 1904.


Turner Pack Rats said...

wowee - i'm liking this one a lot but talk about crowded. unless those two houses out front are the gardeners and supers houses, this place is SQUEEEEEEEEZED. and that must have been some party in the bing view - the guy that put up those tents was a whiz at using space.
hear that whining noise - a symptom of TFS - tasteless forecourt syndrome. cured by large doses of landscaping and statuary.
so whats with the glass house - tennis, pool, water polo, addiction to large orchids - que?
another house that i'm really glad it survived because of the scale, the ornamentation and the super quality feel of the interiors but "give me land, lots of land under sunny skies above - don't fence me in" (apologies to gene, bing and the andrews sisters).
also, it looks like hard times next door where there's a foundation that never got off the ground (sorry). just as well as its even more crowded than Lauderdale speaking of which - was this guys other house in Florida?

security word def - "phopraph" - an early method of keeping track of well dressed well heeled dilletantes (notice the small "d")

Doug Floor Plan said...

I agree with TPR that a little acreage around this house would be helpful but am grateful this good looking house is extant & being beautifully maintained. It also appears the forecourt with shrubbery & no fountain is original landscaping.

Doing a 360 around Zach’s Bing link there is only one view showing the construction of a huge, temporary floor on the front lawn. I’ve looked at this house before in Bing & remember as I rotated that floor became a huge tent & was linked via a covered walkway that wrapped around what I’m guessing is an indoor swimming pool to another huge tent with a skylight roof in the back yard. It must have been quite a party.

The Down East Dilettante said...

The interiors start out so well---grand vestibule leading up to a stately stair....and then things go downhill...

They sure do manage to fit a lot of new construction onto those old lots, don't they? I assume someday there will be houses in between too...

At least the entrance is still circular, and not yet another of those rectangles with ovolo corners and a cheap fountain in the middle, so I'm not going to give TPR the satisfaction of hearing me whine. Nope. Nosiree. Not going to make his predictions come true by whining about the paving materials. Not a word will I utter about how much I hate those dyed concrete pavers for driveways, and how jarring they are with the materials of the house. Nope. not me.

The Ancient said...

If you look at the house on Google Maps, and "walk around" the perimeter, you'll see that the "glass house" looks like a pedimented mausoleum in a modernist graveyard. Whatever were they thinking?

I can't get exercised by a driveway in Lawrence.

Charles said...

This house has 21 bathrooms!!

The Ancient said...

This house has 21 bathrooms!

"From each according to their abilities; to each according to their needs."

(Perhaps they should rename the house La Casa Incontinenta!)

lil' gay boy said...

"This house has 21 bathrooms!"

No wonder it borders on marshland (which is also why it seems more crowded on the lot now); boy that must have been some shindig! How come I wasn't invited?


The Five Towns area is a hodgepodge of architectural treasures that often slip the mind as traveling through the area is not frequent as it is typically on the way to nowhere.

Nonetheless, it's nice to be reminded of treasures such a Lauderdale, (if only it had a better name; like calling your summer home Truck Stop.) And is that not Marcel Breuer's Geller House four doors down Ocean Avenue to the west, with that fantastic arch over the entire living area?

Security word - ancesou: the last of an inheritance.

Anonymous said...

I'm so close to the Five-Towns, but never think of cruising around the same way I do on the North Shore...maybe cause it's not as hilly and not as many trees. The North makes me feel as if I'm upstate.

ChipSF said...

This house looks a little bit institutional but I still like it.

I am guessing that the name has nothing to do with a place in Florida. Possibly Mr. Porter was of Scottish descent or wanted to indicate a connection to the Earls of Lauderdale.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

There's color photos at the above Google Earth/wikimapia connection. Obit from NYTimes -

Daughters wedding -

Move to the east, next door was the cherished "Talbot House". Garden remnants can be seen at Bing and Google Earth.

Five Towns Blog -

FranzJosef said...

I was a weekend guest, in the early 1980's, of the last member of the Porter family to own the house. It was still in it's glorious original form in those days, with its lovely understated gravel driveway. (The property has since been ruined by subsequent owners who built the aweful swimming pool monstrocity and a hideous brick and wrought-iron fence, both of which ignore the original style of the place.)

The Porter's are, as guessed above, descended from the first Earl of Lauderdale, whose surname was Maitland and, in turn, was a surname in the larger Porter family. (There were still one or two Maitlands in Lawrence until very recently.) Another line of their family descends from the Seton clan; so, their lineage includes two peers of Scotland. The first American saint canonized by the Catholic Church had married into the family, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton.

Anonymous said...

Mr. H. Hobart Porter was my great grandfather and we are of Scottish descent: Maitlands and Setons, hence Earls of Lauderdale.

Anonymous said...

More from Anoymous:

It is important know that Lauderdale was only a summer home. It had a giant boiler and steam heat but only once was inhabited in the winter during the depression. My Grandmother, Mr.Porter's daughter, came in possesion of Lauderdale when she and her husband, Mr. John Horton Ijams bought out her 2 sisters. There were 3 daughters, no sons. One sister and her husband, built a lovely house next door on the property to the West in the 1930's. (Hammill). Her other sister built a house by the water in the Isle of Wight area near the Cedarhurst Yacht Club in the 1950's. My parents built a house on the
estate in 1955 just behind Lauderdale, giving us a view of the incredible marsh there. I was born in 1957 and have many memories of visiting next door for dinner and even staying there when my parents rented our house in the summers. I and my brother held a farewell party in 1985 at Lauderdale. The house was sold circa 1986 to a self styled "Rabbi" Othodox Jew who was a crook, who since has been imprisoned for many counts of fraud. In 1981, I installed a pipe organ in the house and sold it to the new owner, who never paid in full.
Today the new owners I believe are Orthodax Jews who have settled in a big way in the 5 towns and I believe the indoor pool they added is a Mikvah Bath.

Anonymous said...

I live in the area and I am devasted to see what has become of the area. This magnificant home that I have always admired has become just about destroyed. The current owners who care nothing about the history of this town have turned this great home into a place that resembles nothing of its original grandure. I had the opportunity as a young man to deliver items from the local hardware store and was able to see what it used to look like. Today, the original owners (Porter's and Ijames) must be rolling over in their graves.

Unknown said...

My great-grandfather built this house, and when I was a child growing up in Lawerence, I remember the Ijams living there, as they were friends of my parents. When they sold the house to the Orthodox Jewish family, they had no respect for the home and destroyed it. I remember how devastated my father was, as this was one of the few local homes that my G-grandfather had designed that was left standing.

Unknown said...

My Father and I worked as land keepers of this home for years.
The mansion is over 18000 sq feet of living space. The dinning table had buzzers for each seat that would go to the kitchen.
The property was very open and had no obstruction of view from the road. The building to the left was a horse stable with 10
Horse stables. The driveway had a high steel guid so the horse and buggy wouldn't hit the lawn. I Loved to take care of this estate.

Unknown said...

My name is Michae O'Rourke jr. My father and I took care of this home.
I knew the family well . They were the nicest people around and everyone knew them. I wish they still Lived there. God bless
Your Mother was a Saint.

Unknown said...

I remember this house when I first seen it in the late 80s. It was totally visible. We used to sit in front About ten years ago I drove by and wow, it was all closed in. Can't even see it anymore from the road. Amazing mansion. I recall one on the opposite side of the road was well, a white one that went far in with a long drive, and another Tudor Revival very close to this one. Maybe that was the guest house? Not sure but these houses were an early inspiration for me to get my degree in Historic Preservation.

Unknown said...

I stayed in the home one weekend with Blandina Ijams, wife to Maitland Ijams in 1985 as they were preparing to sell the property. I was 13 at the time

Anonymous said...

The Geller house from Andrew Geller nice modern house a few houses down remains unchanged

Anonymous said...

Geller house by Breuer down the block. Nice modern houses
Andrew Geller shoes