Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lord & Burnham Advertisement 1

I have a small collection of Lord & Burnham advertisements showcasing various greenhouses and solariums they built for a variety of estate owners across the country. This 1902 image is from the Jacob J. Vandergrift estate in Pittsburgh, PA. Vandergrift founded the Union Tank Car Company which became a subsidiary of Standard Oil.

14 comments:

magnus said...

i was lucky enough to know several old timers who ran a number of the grand old North Shore (L.I) places in their prime (the estates and the men). One was Scottish, one English and one American (The American's father was English and had been brought over to the United States by Bertram Work to run Oak Knoll). Their stories of how these places were run never ceased to fascinate me, and I'm sure that My endless questions were a bore to them, although they were unfailingly polite. All of the estates which they managed had large greenhouse complexes, as so many estates did in that era, and flowers and vegetables were either trucked in or sent by Railway Express to the owner's NY City houses during the winter months. I remain intrigued by a flower which they all grew in abundance in their greenhouses and which is now virtually unknown: The Malmaison. It is a carnation, beloved by the Edwardians, some six inches across and heavily scented. Prone to all sorts of diseases and touchy about it's cultivation, it has apparently gone out of cultivation, at least in the United States. I have never seen a Malmaison in the flesh, but I conjure it up in my mind every time I pass those dreary, unscented button carnations in a bucket by the checkout line at my local grocer's.

The Down East Dilettante said...

ah, how wonderful, one's own private Bronx Botanical Garden conservatory. One of the saddest sights in the country is the vast glassless frame of the surviving conservatory at Lyndhurst on the Hudson.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Malmaison Carnation

Anonymous said...

DED...I agree about Lyndhurst, sad indeed.I find, for myself at least, that in many cases the Conservatories are as interesting and beautiful as the homes their built for.

Anonymous said...

I meant "they're built for"...I have to stop commenting after a few glasses of wine....

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Yes, all the major estates and even some smaller ones had greenhouses. Castle Gould had amazing ones, and don't forget Pembroke. Many of them were just utilitarian and simple but some where like Byzantine glass palaces.
So many of the buildings on these estates seem today like they were great luxuries, but in their time they were necessary. If you wanted flowers you didn't go to the local grocery store. If you needed milk you had to have your own cows. Meudon had a full farm complex , as did Castle Gould and Harbor Hill. Even if the owners were hardly at the properties, the staff had to be fed and often the houses had changes of fresh flowers every day , just in case the owners decided to show up.

Doug Floor Plan said...

I’m quoting from ‘The Vanderbilts and the Gilded Age” by J. Foreman & R. P. Stimson about the Vanderbilt/Twombly estate ‘Florham’ in Morris County, NJ:

“Besides what he [Chef Monsieur Joseph Donon] bought, the production of the Florham farm was entirely at his disposal. Each morning, Donon simply gave the gardener a list of the vegetables needed for the day. Two hours later, they would arrive at the kitchen door, freshly picked. It didn’t matter whether it was the depth of winter, since the farm had special greenhouses devoted to produce.’

‘The farm and the greenhouses kept all three of the Twombly houses in produce, dairy products, and fruit and flowers all year long. When the family was at Vinland during July and August, Donon would call New Jersey in the evening with a list of what would be needed for the following day. His order would be loaded onto a railroad car parked at Florham’s private siding, then the car would be hauled to Hoboken. During the night, its contents would be shipped by American Express to the Fall River Boat line, arriving at Vinland by truck in the early morning.”

Old Grey Dog said...

I was one of the first people to tour Lyndhurst estate when it opened to the public in 1965, and walked all around the vast greenhouse complex. When looking through the windows of the low, brick, buildings behind the greenhouse I noticed French Louis Fifteenth and Louis Sixteenth sofas and chairs stacked on long tables; probably potting-tables.
By the following year those windows were covered so no one could see in. No doubt that furniture belonged to Anna Gould, the Dutchess of Talleyrand, and was removed from the mansion by the National Trust. I've often wondered what the Trust did with all those treasures Anna brought with her from France !

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

I was also at Lyndhurst when it first opened and it was the best. The grounds were covered with all kinds of statuary and the bowling alley was a wreak as was the greenhouse. I have seen pictures of the house right after the National Trust got it and it was filled to the ceiling with French palace furniture. Anna Gould when she left France during the war, brought much of furniture with her and must have used Lyndhurst as a storehouse while using it on weekends, sleeping in her small childhood tower room. I will dig out some of my old snapshots of Lyndhurst during those years and post them on my Mansions of The Gilded Age blog later today.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think it's a shame the current Lyndhurst greenhouse didn't include the apiary which George Merritt's original greenhouse had. In comparing pics of the older greenhouse with the current one, I feel like that onion dome made all the difference in the world.

www.newyorksocialdiary.com/node/2279 -

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Yes, I always wondered why they didn't rebuild it with the tower.
It was really incredible! I just posted a picture of the greenhouse when I was there in the 1970s and included some nice links to more about Lyndhurst. It was one of the first mansions that fascinated me and started my lifelong interest in them.

http://garylawrance.blogspot.com/2011/09/greenhouse-at-lyndhurst.html

Old Grey Dog said...

More memories of that first visit to Lyndhurst in the Spring of 1965 ~ at that time you were met at the gatehouse by a Mr. Vetterman, and his wife, who told me that he was the very last employee hired by Anna, the Duchess, only several weeks before leaving for France for the last time, in 1960 or 1961. After her death representatives of her heirs came to Lyndhurst and told those in charge to "prepare the place for the bulldozer !" Mr.
Vetterman told me that it took two, or three, hundred dollars worth of fuel, each week, to keep the greenhouses going and that those funds were now cut off. The estate Superintendent sent wotd out that anyone could come and take whatever plants they wanted from the greenhouses . . . the tall palms were removed with a buzz-saw ! Vetterman said that while the Duchess owned the estate that anyone who worked on the place could take cut flowers for their own living quarters. many times whe would just have her chauffeur drive out to the front of the greenhouses and park there a while, then take her back to The Plaza hotel in the City. Just before whe left for France, for the very last time, she did not go
into the mansion but only stayed in her car to speak to the butler, to tell him that she would see him again when she returned to the States. Pondering all this I believe we were fortunate to have Lyndhurst preserved at all, alas !

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Thank you so much for that information. My first time there must have been around 1968. Great to hear those stories. It is fortunate that Lyndhurst survives. Architecturally it is so unique that it would be hard to image what it was like if it was gone. In pictures it looks long, but when you go there, it is not as long, but towering. Houses like Beacon Towers would probably have appeared different
in person also. Please feel free to contact me or post on my Mansions of the Gilded Age blog. I would love to hear more about Lyndhurst.