Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Best Twelve Country Houses in America

Here's the full list of 'The Best Twelve Country Houses in America', by Henry Saylor, from Country Life magazine, 1916.


The Devoted Classicist said...

Hmm, that is an interesting list, to be sure. Although I have unfortunately never visited the John T. Pratt house in Glen Cove, I have seen pictures of this exceptionally handsome residence, now a conference center, I understand. And the Newberry house on Lake St Clair in Grosse Point Farms was notable in its day; I do not know its current status. Of course I admire Mount Vernon, but I am not sure that I would pick it over Monticello, for example.

lil' gay boy said...

Devoted, it is indeed still lovely, and although the facilities that extend to the north (indoor pool, hotel rooms) are insensitive to the original house, they are somewhat well screened from it both inside & out.

As a local, I was fortunate enough to work for a company that held it's annual conference there every summer (as well as attend a friend's wedding there); despite the decidedly corporate flair of such events, it was nonetheless compelling lovely to be entertained in a ghost of such fashion as it heyday must have afforded, enjoying the summer twilight at a candlelit poolside table, watching the company's "award" winners toss each other drunkenly into the outdoor pool (where a sunken garden was originally located to the west; the pool was a later addition a few years after the initial construction, and quite nicely done).

We peons would retire to the basement bowling alley or the third floor bar/pool room, traversing the lovely main floor rooms and keeping tabs on who was with whom (a surprising number of engagements/births accompanied these festivities at a crucial 9-month interval).

ChipSF said...

Not only is Mt. Vernon on the list but two imitations of it are also -Breese and Foxhollow Farm.

Devoted -
Sorry to have to tell you but the Newberry house is long gone. There is a street called "Newberry Place" on the property now.

Doug Floor Plan said...

Here’s the second half of what I found for the list of Henry H. Saylor’s ‘Best Twelve’ of 1915 / 1916:

VII. Francis T. Underhill [architect] / ‘La Chiquita’, Santa Barbara, California – [This should open to the correct page, current status unknown]

VIII. Truman H. Newberry / ‘Drybrook’, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, [Demolished] – & if you want to see ‘Drybrook’ in the ‘Country Life’ article (which includes a floor plan) then click on the link for IX & click on the blue tab marker on the right.

IX. George S. Palmer / ‘Westomere’, New London, Connecticut – [This should open to the correct page, current status unknown],+john+w+pepper,+jenkintown&hl=en&ei=Hi0ZTq2eDcONsAK-7bHCBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Country%20Life%2C%20john%20w%20pepper%2C%20jenkintown&f=false

X. ‘Foxhollow Farm’, Rhinebeck, New York – [This should open to the correct page, current status unknown],+jenkintown&source=bl&ots=R_QiwX5dUN&sig=IuwFOnSbahldK2JV9M8jX3Mb8Fs&hl=en&ei=HCwZTsb7L-WesQKu49yVDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CFIQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=john%20w%20pepper%2C%20jenkintown&f=false

If you want to see XI while you’re here (it’s in the same Volume 29) click on the bottom blue tab marker on the right.

XI. A. C. Bartlett / ‘The House in the Woods’, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin – [This should open to the correct page, current status unknown],+Wisconsin&hl=en&ei=4KEZTtu_M-WBsgL09cHCBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

XII. ‘Mount Vernon’ mansion on the Potomac River [Historic House open to the public] –

From looking at this list I guess it’s safe to say Henry H. Saylor had a preference for symmetrical fa├žades; & I agree with ChipSF that ‘The Orchard’ & ‘Foxhollow Farm’ have a passing similarity to ‘Mount Vernon.’ My favorite is VII, ‘La Chiquita’ – it’s a good looking house & as I’ve gotten older I favor one-story houses anyway.

Anonymous said...

Doug, thank you for all the great links. Fortunately, Howard Van Doren Shaw's "House in the Woods" still exists, beautifully, under private ownership. I've sailed by it a number of times. Here is a link to a recent photo of it, as well as other significant homes along the shore of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

I guess it would help if I actually provided that link:

ChipSF said...

Zach - Thanks for the list and Doug thanks for the links.

It appears that Foxhollow Farms is extant as a part of Daytop Village Substance Abuse Center.

The house can be seen on Bing South of Rhinebeck, NY along Route 9, just north of 85.

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised on the John T. Pratt "Manor House" estate. No, I wasn't one of them but my Dad was a carpenter there. In winter we would bowl on the two alleys in the basement (where my Dad also had one of his shops.)