Friday, March 29, 2013



The north elevation of the central block features a tabernacle door enframement with Ionic columns and a segmental arched pediment. This doorway is situated right of center in the elevation and is balanced by a single window to the left. A tripartite window is in the gable end.


RECONSTRUCTED AND ENLARGED BY CARRERE & HASTINGS, ARCHITECTS FOR THE LATE WILLIAM C. WHITNEY  ***Many names are attached to this property - Stanford White, George A. Freeman, Carrere & Hastings***

The central block of "Joye Cottage" is a one and one-half story frame residence sheathed in weatherboard, and set on a raised basement, with a gable roof. The facade (west elation has a balustraded porch beneath the main slope of the roof, extending across the breadth of the facade. The porch is approached by a broad central stairway. Fenestration of the facade is irregular. The roof is pierced by five irregularly spaced dormer windows and by three chimney stacks.

The southwest and northwest wings are identical. They are connected to the central block by colonnaded passages. The wings are weather-boarded. They create a formal  courtyard anteceding the entrance to the main house. Each wing is temple form, with a Roman Doric portico as its west elevation, and a similar portico integrated with the connecting colonnade on the east. Each wing has a tabernacle doorway facing onto the central courtyard.

The northwest wing, originally similar in plan to the southwest wing, was remodeled by Mrs. Flora Whitney; a ballroom, open to the gabled roof, now occupies almost all of this wing. Cast iron braces help support the ballroom roof. 

The southwest wing, which is connected to the main house by a glassed-in colonnade, features a longitudinal hall, running the length of the wing. A library and a studio are integral to this building. The southeast wing has a sky-lit hall on the ground floor; eight rooms on two stories are accessible from this hall. ***The studio was built for Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney***
  AT a time when the beauty of old dwellings is so often dwelt upon, the credit given modern ones is all too scant. If the artistic merit of any new work placed beside the old is infrequent, then when success it attained it cannot be overpraised. The house to which these additions have been made was old, and it was also so mediocre as to arouse little enthusiasm in the mind of any designer called upon to extend and develop it. Yet the superiority of the new is undeniable and the additions may readily stand upon their own merits as an interesting architectural performance. Under such conditions restraint is necessarily the keynote of design. Attempts to change the old house were confined to interior alterations, to new columns and entablature for the veranda and to a rich doorway placed at the carriage entrance. This feature, it may be observed, displays considerable freedom of design and bears upon examination much exquisite architectural detail.

  From either corner of the house extend colonnades giving access to the new one-storey wings, two in number, and containing living and guest rooms. These wings are so placed at each end of the old house, and at right angles with it, as to entirely enclose the garden. This is entirely new and is laid out in rather broad parterres and is crossed by two wide paved paths, meeting at a cemented tank in the center. The minor paths are of gravel, which contrasts piquantly with the arbor-vine, planted freely in those beds which form a structural part of the design thus preserving the architectural spirit of the garden throughout the year. Spanish bayonets and other southern shrubs carry the mass of garden foliage up against the veranda, while in the distance a background for the garden is being obtained by means of young trees—gingkos, cedars and others—which have been planted outside the terra-cotta balustrade. This wild space can be surveyed from the outer walk of the garden and also from the porticoes at the ends of the new wings.


Showing the colonnade connecting the old building with the new.


*Note the stables in the background on the left*

 The spirit of a southern latitude is present in the entire scheme, and the free extension of the buildings over a considerable area gives the openness and consequent circulation of air so necessary in the warm and genial climate of Aiken. In such a locality the Colonial type of country dwelling has long seemed so especially appropriate that it would probably have been selected for these additions even had not the original building pointed the way in that direction.

The salon is the dominant room of the central block.   This room is panelled with three-quarter height wainscoting. An exposed-beam ceiling is visually supported by free-standing Ionic columns and by Ionic pilasters.   These pilasters also frame the mantel and over-mantel.   A low elliptical arch, framed by pilasters, leads from the salon to a double-run open-stringer staircase, which has panelled square newel posts topped by classical urns.   There are seven bedrooms on the second floor.

The interior of the central block of "Joye Cottage" reflects the Georgian Revival style of the exterior.   The first floor has an entry hall, central salon, billiard room, den, and three bedrooms. 

The dining room is dominated by a large delft-tiled fireplace.

Interior Fireplace

The southeast, or kitchen wing is two stories with a gable roof and irregular fenestration, extends from the billiard room of the central block  A butler's pantry features original cabinets with diamond-paned glass doors. Eight staff bedrooms are located above the kitchen area. Source of interior photos

  The property was thus developed by the late William C. Whitney, whose purpose was to have a kind of bungalow or hunting lodge for the resort of himself and friends when outdoor life should become disagreeable in the North. The End.

The south elevation of the central block features a three-sided bay window. The south gable end projects beyond the plane of the first floor elevation. The east elevation has a recessed porch extending along its northern aspect. The southeast wing of the building is attached to the southern aspect of this elevation.

A Squash Court on the Late William C. Whitney's Estate  Aiken, S. C.
Designed by Warren & Wetmore, Architects - H&G - I also see text attributing this structure to Carrere & Hastings
   The Whitney Squash Court is a two story stuccoed building in the Prairie Style. The building is cruciform in plan, with stuccoed exterior walls.   A low hip roof, with projecting eaves and exposed rafter ends, shelters each arm of the cruciform. A massive brick chimney stack rises at the juncture of the roofs.   One story porticos with paired lattice-work Ionic columns, surround the east and west arms of the building.   The west portico originally extended to a porte-cochere; this has been enclosed since 1970.   The entablature of the porticos   is carried around the building between the first and second floors.   Ribbon Windows on the second story are set underneath the projecting eaves of the roof.

Harry Payne Whitney was the son of W. C. and the executor of his fathers will.

The Squash Court at its best!

Before leaving for New York in January 1902, W. C. Whitney gave orders for a new squash court to be erected on Easy Street across from his residence at "Joye Cottage". The Whitney Squash Court was constructed in a prairie style and contained four squash courts. Other outbuildings on the 5-acre property included the Whitney Stables, a greenhouse, a laundry, and two small one-story frame houses.

   The Whitney Squash Court originally had squash courts in its north and south arms. The north is intact, although the south court has been divided into four rooms on two levels.   Club rooms are central on the first and second floors, providing space for observing the games.   The original shower stalls in the east arm of the building have been removed, to provide for a new entrance hall.   A kitchen and dining room was built in the enclosed porte-cochere.

South elevation - Squash Court for "Joye Cottage", it has been adapted to a private residence.

  The Whitney Stable is a one and one-half story frame building, sheathed with weathered cedar shingles on the exterior walls and with composition shingles on the roof.   Two wings, containing twelve stalls, extend from the central body of the stable, creating a forecourt. The bell-cast hip roof is crowned by a small louvered cupola. The main entrance is articulated by a bell-cast canopy and a small gable with a diamond-paned Palladian window. The slope of the property allows a basement level in the main section.

"Joye Cottage" - Stables
  The stable was built to house thirty horses and their trappings in the main body and the two wings. All of the interior walls are paneled in pine. The original sliding doors and hardware remain intact. The upper level consists of eight rooms over the central section of the stable and lofts running the length of the wings. The stable has been adapted for use as a private residence.

National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form.

"Joye Cottage" - Stables - Currently For-Sale 

  When he bought a modest inn in Aiken in 1896 and transformed it into a magnificent sixty-room mansion, William C. Whitney***"a highly favored man."*** had one thought in mind, and it was not necessarily the acquisition of more property. He already had nine houses, three on fashionable Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. This tenth residence was to he a gift for his bride, Edith Sybil Randolph, whom he met in Aiken earlier that same year.

  Made a widower by the death of his first wife, Flora Payne Whitney, the sister of Oliver Payne, who had been one of J.D. Rockefellers partners in the creation of Standard Oil. Whitney was smitten by Flora. He was eager to build a sanctuary for the two of them, far from the machinations of his former brother-in-law, who was determined to have his revenge after he learned of W.C's plan to remarry and thus dishonor the memory of his sister.

  Indeed, Whitney's second marriage was destined to he unhappy. Not only did Oliver Payne manage to win the loyalty of two of Whitney's four children from his first marriage—they agreed to snub their father in exchange for a promise to inherit the Payne millions—but Flora, the ardent equestrian, died from a fall only months after the house, christened "Joye Cottage", was introduced to a glittering assembly of the rich and famous during a Christmas party in 1897.

  After W.C. Whitney's death seven years later, the house became the property of his faithful son Harry and, in turn, Harry's daughter and W.C.'s granddaughter, Flora Whitney Miller, the last of the family to take an interest in the five-acre estate, which passed out of their hands in 1980.

  For some time, the fate of "Joye Cottage" was uncertain. It can be said that it was spared the wrecking ball due to the happy intervention of two young men, Steven Naifeli and Gregory White Smith, who took it into their heads one rainy weekend in Manhattan, to walk from their four-room apartment to the showroom at Sotheby's to gaze longingly at the real estate listings.

  There they read the following: "Gracious country estate...landscaped grounds lush with Southern vegetation, white columns, expansive 100-foot veranda facing formal garden and pool.. .sweeping lawns framed by towering oaks and pines...timeless appeal...the very legacy of understated classic design (Whitney is said to have consulted with famed architect Stanford White in drawing up the plans)...the essence of American aristocratic style."

  They were hooked, and after a lengthy negotiation, with a number of surprising twists and turns, they finally bought the property at about a third of the asking price. The rest is history or, at the very least, a vastly entertaining saga of their renovation struggles, and admirably told in their book On a Street Called Easy, In a Cottage Called Joye.

  In short, Naifeh and Smith, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of artist Jackson Pollock was published shortly after their move to Aiken, somehow brought life back to the twenty thousand square feet of living space. The imposing "cottage" became their home. ***Click HERE to read more***

  This, they thought, was the happy-ever-after ending of their story They had acquired the home of their dreams and, three years earlier, had even cheated death. In 1986. Greg Smith was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and given only three months to live. How the two coped with that diagnosis—and their quest to find a cure—is the subject of yet another engrossing autobiographical volume Making Miracles Happen. The book's title says it all; Naifeh and Smith somehow found a way to prove the doctors wrong, and Greg Smith miraculously bounced back.

  Their heightened consciousness of their own mortality, however, made them contemplate the fate of the house that they had come to love, and they subsequently decided to deed the property to the Juilliard School in New York. "Music and art have given us such great joy—in both senses," Naifeh and Smith asserted. "By helping Juilliard in its mission to train musicians and artists and spread the joy to future generations, we can give back a thousand fold."

  Furthermore, they eventually came to the decision to start building a bridge between the town and the school during their own lifetimes. Thus, since 2009. students, faculty and alumni of the Juilliard School have come to Aiken for a week every March to perform at various locations in the city and hold master classes in the local schools. Plans are now afoot to extend Juilliard residencies to other times of the year by bringing vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers and actors to Aiken as part of Juilliard's year-round presence in the city.

  Thus, two remarkable Aiken residents brought new life into an old home, not only by their stunning restoration of the building and grounds but also by their creative adaptation of the indoor and outdoor space as a future retreat for generations of artists.  Source.

  Click HERE to read more about the influence Whitney had in the Aiken area.

  A romantic read in a special supplement to the New York Times titled "Mr. Whitney's Southern Home" was published on January 16, 1898.

  Click HERE to see at wikimapia. BING.

   Altogether, William C. Whitney owned ten residences, totaling some 56,000 acres of estates in five states(one time largest land holder in New York). Two New York City homes - 2 West 57th Street and 871 Fifth Avenue. In addition to a "shooting box" in England, Whitney oversaw the breeding and training of a stable of thorough-breds - "La Belle Farm"a Blue Grass region farm near Lexington, Kentucky, another - "Stony Ford Farm", at Goshen, New York. There were two houses on Long Island - "The Manse" in Old Westbury and a renovated 150-year-old mansion used as a racing lodge near the Sheepshead Bay Ractetrack. In the Berkshire Mountains his land holdings  formed Massachusetts largest state forest - October Mountain State Forest. At the same time renovations were being done at "Joye Cottage" Whitney's builder George Freeman was building a mountain-top cottage "The Antlers' with Olmsted landscaping and a honeymoon cabin for son Harry and new bride Gertrude Vanderbilt.  In the Adirondacks his holdings have been turned into the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area. Supposedly he also had a home in Florida.

  "Le Belle Farm" and "Stony Ford Farm" seem to be more of an arrangement between his breeders and trainers - not a regular home. "Le Belle House", built on the property in the 30s for George W. Headley III is currently for-sale in a  effort to save the Headley-Whitney Museum. The manor house at "Stony Ford Farm" is also for-sale. Click HERE for more on the Whitney racing history at Sheepshead including the feud between himself and Fox Keene of "Rosemary Hall". Little Gloria for more.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Horsehaven" - Thomas Hastings in Aiken, S. C.

   "Horsehaven" was designed by architect Thomas Hastings around 1928 as his winter home.  Although Hastings is remembered for his large projects, such as the New York Public Library, he was interested in and wrote about the problems of designing the small house. This house is believed to express Hastings concept of small house design.  The lot on which "Horsehaven" is situated is approximately fifty feet wide and one hundred and fifty feet long.   The entrance to the residence is not on its street side; It is approached by a pathway through an arch in a high wall and on to an east-facing veranda.   The veranda looks out on an enclosed garden. Access to the garage and stable on the property is by a lane outside the garden wall. The two-story brick and frame house has a gable roof and at least three brick chimneys, a polygonal projection on the left of the facade and a polygonal bay window on the first story adds character to the front. 

Thomas Hastings fitted this modest house and stable into a fifty by one-hundred foot lot in Aiken, thus not only winning a wager from a skeptical friend, but ensuring that his wife could observe the horses from the house, as she could at "Bagatelle".

The little stable building is now a guesthouse. Photographed from the terrace, once the stable-yard.

Click HERE to see at wikimapia. BING. Google Street View.

  About the Civil War, Miss Celestine Eustis of New Orleans began to winter in Aiken, believing it to be healthy for her niece and ward, Louise Eustis.    An avid horsewoman, Louise Eustis came to love Aiken as a place where equestrian activities could be comfortably pursued during the winter months. 

  After Louise Eustis married, she convinced her husband, wealthy society sportsman, Thomas Hitchcock of New York, to continue wintering in Aiken.  Hitchcock also found Aiken ideal for horses and other sports and with Mrs. Hitchcock played a major role in Aiken's transformation from a health resort to a winter pleasure resort.  Along with Miss Eustis, the Hitchcocks encouraged their friends and family to spend the season in Aiken, thus forming the nucleus of healthy, wealthy, northern sports enthusiasts that became known as the Aiken Winter Colony. It was through this connection that  brought the Hastings to Aiken and led them to build "Horsehaven".   


  During the heyday of the Winter Colony, Aiken was known as the "Winter Polo Capital of America."

Miss Celestine Eustis cookbook, Cooking in Old Creole Days, written in 1903.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Arcady Farm"

  Designed in 1907 by the same architect of  "Mellody Farm" - Arthur Heun - Arthur Meeker's(Ogden Armour’s partner) summer estate "Arcady Farm" was located at the northwest corner of Waukegan Road and Rt. 60, and was one of the early demolitions(1975) of historic homes that led to the formation of the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation and, ultimately, Lake Forest's Historic Preservation Ordinance 

  Click HERE to see where "Arcady Farm" stood.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

After "Melody"

Armour and Company, 1918
  Ogden Armour's wealth came from his role as the head of the multi-million dollar meatpacking business Armour and Company, which he took over in 1901 on the death of its founder, his father, Philip D. Armour. He inherited a fortune but also took the company to new financial heights by investing in railroads, elevators, refrigerators, and street railways. He became the second wealthiest American, after RockefellerThe bubble burst in the early 1920s, however, and after losing more than $150 million in an economic downturn, Armour suddenly died in 1927. 
295 Vine Avenue Lake Forest,IL
  Debts forced his widow to sell "Melody Farm" the following year to a consortium of rich Chicago men who bought it with the intention of turning it in to a country club. She moved to a  modest nine-room house on 20 acres of land that she had retained from the sale. 
View from the front lawn.
  Renewed wealth allowed Lolita to move into a David Adler  designed estate that was built in 1934.  She regained much of her fortune after 1930 with the sale of J. Ogden’s investment in Universal Oil Products(initially thought to be worthless).

Closeup-Exterior front 

View from the garden side.
  Click HERE to see the estate in a 1939 aerialBING.

Closeup-Exterior garden side

Stair Hall

Closeup - Stair Hall

Living Room

Closeup - Living Room

Dining Room

Closeup - Dining Room

Garden Pavilion 

Closeup - Garden Pavilion 

View from outside the gate

Closeup - View from outside the gate

Current View 

View from inside the gate

Closeup - View from inside the gate

Decoration Over Door

Closeup - Decoration Over Door

Detail of Decoration Over Door

Closeup - Detail of Decoration Over Door

Coach House

  The converted Coach House is currently listed for $2.295 million(down from $2.8 two years ago). 

  Mrs. Armour died on February 6, 1953 at the age of 83. She had been ill for a some time and died at her home. She is buried at Graceland Cemetery, Chicago

  Click HERE for a post about "Melody Farm" and HERE for a post on its gardens.