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2017-09-23 Westbound; On to Washington and the Grand Coulee Dam…

We left Couer d’ Alene early this morning; Brent came out to wish us well:

2017-09-22 Idaho 05 Walters Phil and Brent

We stopped for fuel early; Washington welcomed us:

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Only two more States to visit before we return to California!

We then set our across the countryside of Eastern Washington;

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I’m not suggesting that Eastern Washington is boring… Wait – yes, I am…

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We soon arrived at our destination: The Grand Coulee Dam:

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I thought something was odd.  This is not what I remember from when I was here in 1956… I remembered a long, wide dam, with a simple, straight-forward design.  What was this strange dog-leg off to the left?

We stopped into the Visitors Center (Marcel Breuer, architect).

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We soon found out that in 1967 the left 250′ of the dam was removed and the new dog-leg portion was added; it includes a third powerhouse, allowing the dam to be more efficient and produce more electrical power.

The Grand Coulee Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the Columbia River, built to produce hydroelectric power and provide irrigation water. Constructed between 1933 and 1942, plus the “remodel” from 1967 to 1974, Grand Coulee Dam is the largest power station in the United States, with a capacity of 6,809 MW.  (Hoover Dam produces 2,078 MW…)  It is 550′ tall and 5,223 wide.  (Hoover Dam is 726′ high, but only 1,244′ wide…)  The dam is the second largest concrete structure in the world, containing almost 12,000,000 cu. yds. of concrete.  (Hoover Dam contains 3,250,000 cu. yds…)

Power from the dam fueled the growing industries of the Northwest United States during World War II.  As the center-piece of the Columbia Basin Project, the dam’s reservoir supplies water for the irrigation of 671,000 acres.

The reservoir behind the dam is called Franklin Delano Roosevelt Lake. Creation of the reservoir forced the relocation of over 3,000 people, including Native Americans whose ancestral lands were partially flooded.  While the dam does not contain fish-ladders, neither does the next down-stream dam, Chief Joseph Dam.  This means that no salmon ever reach the Grand Coulee Dam, making the issue moot.

We joined a tour of the powerhouse #1, along with the treat of being able to be driven across the top of the dam.  (The roadway atop the dam is closed to public traffic…)  We saw the pumps and generating turbines inside the powerhouse, and had opportunity to take photos of the surrounding areas from atop the dam.

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After the tour we walked across the bridge below the dam.  It contained many photo boards describing the surrounding geology (fun for Lynda) and the construction of the dam (fun for me…).

After viewing the dam, we checked into the RV park nearby; it is Saturday, so: Football!

2017-09-23 Saturday College Football

We took a break from football from time to time to walk about the neighborhood.  On one such walk we found some wild turkeys:

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 59 Turkeys

In the evening we drove back to the dam; they have a laser light show projected onto the dam, but what I wanted to see was the release of eater over the spillways.  We arrived about 8:15; the parking lot was mostly full, and people were milling about.  At about 8:25 they shut off most of the lights in the area and opened the spillways.  We could see the “whitewater” cover the face of the dam.  Unfortunately, they never used the thousands of flood lights mounted around the dam to light up the water.  So, while we could see the water, we could only see it dimly.

The laser show started.  It was not much of a big deal.  It told the story of the dam through giant speakers mounted about 6 feet from where we were sitting… The laser show was mostly the drawing of stick figures on the face of the dam to illustrate the story.  We won’t be back…

So we returned to the Villa in the dark.  An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-07-28 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Leaving Campobello Island; Two border crossings, and into New Brunswick

We began our travels off the island by crossing the FDR bridge, towards Maine.  As we waited at Customs, we admired the lovely views:

 

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It took quite some time to get through Customs back into the USA.  First of all, this is a tiny station, normally only serving this tiny island; also, because 25 Airstreams began streaming across the bridge starting at about 9:00… Each trailer was inspected – we had not seen this in our three previous border crossings; apparently they are looking for either animals or people – they opened all the larger cupboards and closets. They also checked the refrigerator, probably for fresh meat or produce.  In any case, they let us back into the USA and we were on our way.

We drove generally north, to the Canadian border, and went through Canadian Customs; similar to our last experience, they seemed mostly concerned with things that we might be bringing into Canada and leaving there.  Again, I refrained from mentioning the contents of our holding tanks, which we intended to empty at the first opportunity…

Moncton, New Brunswick, is a relatively large town; its claim to fame is that it is the largest city near the Hopewell Rocks, the best place to experience the extreme tides of the Bay of Fundy. (More on this tomorrow…)

So we settled into Campers City RV Resort in Moncton, NB, and readied ourselves for the coming days:

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First order of business was to go to Costco and restock the wine and liquor cabinet, since the Canadian Government frowns greatly upon bringing vast quantities of wine and liquor into Canada from the USA.  Also, I live on 5-8 bottles per day of Kirkland Vita-Rain water (fake vitamin water that has even fewer vitamins than real Vitamin Water…).  And we needed plain Kirkland water for coffee and such.  Plus, my daily diet consists mainly of Pure Protein Bars, available only at Costco.

The Costco was only 1.2 miles away; we gleefully set out for our shopping spree.

WORST COSTCO EVER!

First of all, it was backwards… But I could deal with that. But:  NO WATER!  How can Costco NOT have 2-3 aisles of water?  This Costco had NO WATER. No plain water; no sparkling wter; no Gator-Ade; no Vita Rain water.  Nothing!  Next insult?  NO ALCOHOL!!!  No Makers Mark, no wine, nothing. Apparently the Canadian Government thinks only the Canadian Government is capable of selling wine and liquor…

Fortunately for me, we did find my protein bars, so we stocked up on them; we are spending the next 5 weeks in Canada: who knows when we will be able to buy them again…?

In any case, we returned to the campground woebegone and wretched. Our spirits picked up a bit as we set about to arrange happy hour: table clothes on the picnic table, chairs, food, wine, etc.  All set; then:  RAIN!  Giant Rain!  Pouring Rain!  We had checked with Steve Jobs and he had promised: NO RAIN!

We scrambled about, and pulled what we could inside.  And we waited. As they say in these foreign parts, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes…”. So, after 10 minutes the rain stopped, and we restarted… Happy hours ensued, and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

As is our custom, here are our GREAT grandchildren…

Erin, Roisin, and George, looking on…

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Ian, and his dad, Kevin:

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2017-07-27 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Campobello Island – FDR and Eleanor…

We began our day in the rain.  It was very overcast and foggy.  We drove to the lighthouse:

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The lighthouse is on the northernmost tip of the island, and it is only accessible at low tide; at high tide it becomes its own island. Tides here are about 18′-20′, this being within the Bay of Fundy. (More on that in a few days…)

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First you have to climb down steep steps to the “beach”, which, at high tide, is the ocean floor…) Then you have to walk across the rocks and seaweed and climb up steep steps on the opposite side to access the lighthouse.

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We’ve seen lighthouses before, and several people had already slipped and fallen by the time we arrived, so we stayed on the safe upper path…

After enjoying the view of the lighthouse we drove through the rest of the northern part of the island. This area is very sparsely populated, and the scenery was beautiful.

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These small “islands” are actually salmon farms:

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We then headed to the main attraction of the day: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s “cottage” here on the island…

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Franklin Roosevelt spent many enjoyable vacations at his summer home on Campobello Island in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy.

FDR’s “cottage” has been preserved, and is almost exactly as it was in 1920, the summer before Franklin was stricken with polio. We were able to tour the first and second floors of the 34-room memorabilia filled cottage. Guides were stationed throughout the home to offer interpretation and answer questions about the house, its historic furnishings, and the family.  Interestingly, a ramp installed a few years ago provides easy access to the first floor, although FDR never added a ramp to accommodate his wheelchair… (But, then again, he had “people”…)

The “cottage” was built in 1897 for Mrs. Hartman Kuhn, of Boston.  It is next door to the cottage of FDR’s parents, where he summered as a child.  Mrs. Kuhn developed a fondness for Eleanor when Franklin and Eleanor summered at his mother’s cottage next door. A provision in Mrs. Kuhn’s will offered her cottage to FDR’s mother, Sara, for $5,000.00.  Sara purchased the furnished cottage and 5 acres of land in 1909, and gave the cottage to Franklin and Eleanor.  The growing family spent summers in the cottage from 1909 to 1921.  FDR altered the design of the house in 1915, when he added a new wing to provide additional space for his growing family.

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FDR’s cottage exhibits design principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, and also elements of early Dutch-American Colonial architecture.  Considerations in the design of summer homes of the era were comfort, orientation to a scenic view and to the sun, and a “picturesque charm” so valued by the Arts and Crafts Movement.

I’m told that the cottage contains 34 rooms, 18 of which are bedrooms and 6 of which are bathrooms, although I didn’t count them.  The third floor, which we didn’t see, contained guest rooms and servants’ rooms, and, I assume, 3 bathrooms… There was even a bedroom on the second floor for Louis Howe, FDR’s political adviser…

The Kitchen:

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The Servants Dining, in the Kitchen:

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The Laundry:

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The Master Bedroom:

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The cottage was considered quite modern for its time, but had neither electricity nor telephone.  Kerosene lamps and candles provided light.  Seven fireplaces and kitchen coal and wood-fired stoves provided heat.  It even had hot and cold running water for bathing, cooking, and cleaning.  (Many cottages on the island had neither kerosene lamps nor running water… these people prided themselves as being “rustic”, but they also had servants to feed the fireplaces, light the candles, cook the meals, haul the water, and empty the chamber pots…)    The water came from storage tanks on the third floor of the cottage.  The storage tanks were fed by gravity from a tank atop a nearby windmill. Drinking water came in large bottles by horse and cart, from a spring called Barrel Well.

Every summer, the Roosevelts brought a nurse and a governess to tutor and instruct the children, and several servants to run the cottage.  Campobello residents were hired to help with the daily chores.

The rear of the house (note the screened porch):

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The view from the house:

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The rear of the house from the water’s edge, at the dock:

 

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Lynda standing on the dock:

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In addition to the Roosevelt cottage we were able to see the Hubbard Cottage… It sits adjacent to FDR’s cottage, on the other side of where FDR’s mother cottage was:

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(They are working on replacing some siding; thus, the cherry-picker…)

Only the first floor was available to tour, but there were grand rooms to see:

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And a grand porch:

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The rear of the house:

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We spent the middle of the day at Josie’s porch, a local coffee-house and general community hang-out.  But they had good internet access, so we spent some quality time catching up on important things…

Later that afternoon we had “Tea with Eleanor”. We assembled at the Wells-Shober house; we were led into parlors and dining room where the 49 of us sat and enjoyed tea and cookies. Two docents spoke for about 45 minutes on the life and times of Eleanor Roosevelt.  She had a tough life growing up, losing her parents at an early age and attending boarding schools in England and other parts of Europe.  It was interesting to hear all this; she never sought the limelight, and hated politics, but she did what she knew was right. After FDR was struck down by polio, it was she who went out and gave speeches to keep FDR in the public eye. After FDR’s death she continued to champion women’s rights and civil rights. During WWII she traveled the world, meeting military personnel in hospitals. She wrote personal letters to the families of everyone she met; sometimes she wrote 12-14 hours per day for months on end to give these families some sense of comfort.

She last returned to Campobello Island in 1962 for the dedication of the FDR bridge from Maine onto the island.

The Wells-Shober Cottage:

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Waiting to be taken in:

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Hilarity ensues as we try to find our places:

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The docents, telling their stories:  (The short one is a 10th generation islander…)

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After the tea, the ladies of the caravan assembled for a group picture, as is the caravan’s tradition…

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After tea we returned to the campground and readied ourselves for another travel day. We had a “Drivers’ Meeting” to discuss timing and routing.  We met in the campground recreation room; apparently they’ve been having good times, based on this sign…

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As always, an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

2017-07-26 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Travel day to Campobello

Today is our last day in Maine. We are moving once again, this time into New Brunswick, Canada, specifically to Campobello Island, the summer home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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We left the campground in Trenton about 10:00 am, and headed north on highway 1, a small, 2-lane road that leads further and further away from civilization. Finally, after about 2 ½ hours we turned east and drove through the town of Lubec, which claims to be the easternmost city in the USA. Who am I to argue?

We went through customs, with our experience being similar to crossing the border in Niagara Falls, which we did back on June 24.   Once onto the island we found our campground and settled in.

Campobello Island is located at the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay, adjacent to the entrance to Cobscook Bay, and within the Bay of Fundy. The island has no road connection to the rest of Canada; the bridge we drove over connects it to Lubec, in Maine. Reaching mainland Canada by car without crossing an international border is possible only during the summer season and requires two separate ferry trips, the first to nearby Deer Island, then from Deer Island to L’Etete.

Measuring 8.7 miles long and about 3.1 miles wide, it has an area of 15.3 sq miles; the island’s permanent population in 2011 was 925.

Campobello has always relied heavily on fishing as the mainstay of the island economy; however, the Passamaquoddy Bay region’s potential for tourism was discovered during the 1880s at about the same time as The Algonquin resort was built at nearby St. Andrews and the resort communities of Bar Harbor and Newport were beginning to develop. Campobello Island became home to a similar, although much smaller and more exclusive, development following the acquisition of some island properties by several private American investors. A luxurious resort hotel was built and the island became a popular summer colony for wealthy Canadians and Americans, many of whom built grand estates there.

Included in this group were Sara Delano and her husband James Roosevelt Sr. from New York City. Sara Delano had a number of Delano cousins living in Maine, and Campobello offered a beautiful summer retreat where their family members could easily visit.  From 1883 onward, the Roosevelt family made Campobello Island their summer home.  Their son Franklin D. Roosevelt would spend his summers on Campobello at the family home from the age of one until, as an adult, he “acquired” his own property — a 34-room “cottage” — which he used as a summer retreat until 1939.  It is next door to Sara and James Roosevelt cottage.  You might wonder why he chose to live next door to his mother?  Simple:  She bought the house and gave it to him.

It was at Campobello, in August 1921, that the future president fell ill and was diagnosed with polio, which resulted in his total and permanent paralysis from the waist down. Roosevelt did strive to regain use of his legs but never again stood or walked unassisted.

During the 20th century, the island’s prosperity from its wealthy visitors declined with the change in lifestyles brought on by a new mobility afforded by automobiles, airplanes, and air conditioning in large inland cities. Nonetheless, for President Roosevelt, the tranquility was exactly what he and his family cherished, and the property remained in their hands until 1952 when it was sold by Elliott Roosevelt (Franklin and Eleanor’s fourth child). Elliott decided to sell the house after his mother, Eleanor, had sold it to him. Elliott sold it to Victor Hammer and his brother Armand Hammer of Boston and they owned it up until 1963. However, they said Eleanor was always welcome to come whenever she pleased, and her last visit was in 1962 to attend the opening of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge connecting Campobello Island to Lubec, Maine. In 1962 the brothers tried to sell it but got no takers; (The were asking $50,000 for it, fully furnished with all the Roosevelt furniture…) they subsequently donated the cottage to the U.S. and Canadian governments in 1963 as an international park. The Roosevelt Campobello International Park is the only one of its kind because it is run by both the Canadian and American governments, the park being located in Canadian territory. The park is now equally staffed by both Americans and Canadians.

In 1960, motion-picture producer Dore Schary and director Vincent J. Donehue made the film Sunrise at Campobello, based on Schary’s Tony Award winning Broadway play of the same name. Starring Ralph Bellamy as Franklin D. Roosevelt, the film covers the years 1921 to 1924 at Campobello Island and events leading up to Roosevelt’s nomination as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president.

So now you know more about Campobello than most Americans do.  (If people DO know about Roosevelt’s time here, they are always surprised to find out that it is in Canada…)

We went for a walk and found a nearby beach on the bay.  The land mass you see in the background is Grand Manat Island; Nova Scotia is beyond that, across the widest part of the Bay of Fundy…

 

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Some folks have asked for a better picture of the Squarestream on this caravan; here it is:

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This is a 1989 32′ Airstream Land Yacht. It is aluminum skinned, but instead of rivets they used high-strength epoxy to attach the skins to the frames. It resulted in a much more rigid unit. However, they were not popular with the traditionalists, so the series was dropped a few years later.

And, as is our custom, here are pictures of our grandchildren, as they learn all about water balloons……

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2017-07-04 Hudson Valley, NY; Roosevelt’s many houses in Hyde Park, and the Great Estates of the Vanderbilts

On 4th of July  we once again took to the train; this time going north, to Poughkeepsie.  At the train station we were shuttled to FDR’s Hyde Park estate, Springwood.  It has a nice driveway approach:

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The house has a great presence as you approach:

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However, it is really a simple (yet large) farm house. Those columns you see aren’t marble, or even stone; they are wood, fashioned to imitate stone.  Inside, the rooms are quite plain, except for the Living Room; it is quite lovely:

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The Sitting Room:

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The Dining Room:

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FDR was born in this house and lived here his entire life; for all but the last four years his mother lived here as well.  There are no permanent accommodations for the fact that he spent most of his waking hours in a wheelchair.  There is a ramp from the main level down to the Living Room, but when visitors were expected, he would transfer from the wheelchair to his desk chair in the Living Room, the ramp was removed and stored, and the wheelchair was hidden.  To access the upper level, he transferred himself into the dumbwaiter, and he hoisted himself up by using the ropes and pulleys.

As I said, FDR’s mother, Sara, lived here with FDR and his wife Eleanor.  FDR was a bit of a “Mama’s Boy” and Eleanor and Sara never got along well. Both Eleanor and FDR built separate, private houses for themselves on the estate, although FDR never slept in his…

Also on the grounds of the estate is the FDR Library; it was the first presidential library built, and it is the only presidential library that was actually used by a sitting president. It was built in about 1941, and expanded after his death.  There is a moving art installation in the garden: given by Winston Churchill’s grand-daughter, it is a sculpture made from pieces taken from the Berlin Wall.  It is entitled “Freedom of Speech”.  The western side is covered in graffiti; the east side is blank…

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In addition to being born here, and living here all his life, FDR is also buried here:

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Next we visited the Vanderbilt Estate, also in the city of Hyde Park.  Is is just one of many Vanderbilt mansions in America…

From the late 1870s to the 1920s, the Vanderbilt family employed some of the United States’s best Beaux-Arts architects and decorators to build an un-equalled string of New York townhouses and East Coast palaces.

The list of architects employed by the Vanderbilts is a “who’s who” of the New York-based firms that embodied the “eclectic” styles of the American Renaissance: Richard Morris HuntGeorge B. PostMcKim, Mead, and WhiteCharles B. AtwoodCarrère and HastingsWarren and WetmoreHorace TrumbauerJohn Russell Pope and Addison Mizner were all employed by the eight grandchildren of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, who built only very modest houses for himself.

Commodore’s grandchildren inheritted about $200,000 from their father, and they treated it as play money to indulge their home-building passions;  I count 24 houses…

  1. Cornelius Vanderbilt II (1843–1899), built a townhouse, the “Cornelius Vanderbilt II House” (1883) at 1 West 57th Street, New York by George B. Post. Enlargements by George B. Post and Richard Morris Hunt. This mansion was, and remains, the largest private residence ever built in Manhattan. Demolished.  Also, “The Breakers” in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1892–95, which was also designed by Richard Morris Hunt.  Also, “Oakland Farm” (1893), mansion and stables on 150 acres in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Demolished.
  2. Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt (1845–1924), built a townhouse (1882), part of the Triple Palace, at 2 West 52nd Street, provided to them by her father and shared with her sister Emily Thorn Vanderbilt and their families. Demolished.  Also,  Woodlea (1892–95), designed by McKim, Mead & White, a country estate in Scarborough, New York, now the Sleepy Hollow Country Club.
  3. William Kissam Vanderbilt (1849–1920) had three houses designed by Richard Morris Hunt.
    • Petit Chateau“, the New York City townhouse at 660 Fifth Avenue, built in 1882 with details drawn in part from the late-Gothic Hôtel de Cluny, Paris. Demolished in 1926.
    • “Idle Hour” country estate in Oakdale, Long Island, New York, was built in 1878–79 and destroyed by fire in 1899. A new “Idle Hour”, designed by Hunt’s son Richard Howland Hunt, was built on the same property from 1900–01 of brick and marble in the English Country Style and is now part of the Dowling College Campus.
    • Marble House” summer home in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1888–92.
  4. Emily Thorn Vanderbilt (1852–1946) built a townhouse, 642 Fifth Avenue, part of the Vanderbilt Triple Palace, provided to them by her father. Demolished. Also, “Elm Court” in Lenox, Massachusetts, in 1887. It is the largest shingle-style house in the United States.
  5. Florence Adele Vanderbilt (1854–1952) built a townhouse at 684 Fifth Avenue, New York (1883). Designed by John B. Snook,  Demolished.  Also, Florham” in Convent Station, New Jersey, in 1894–97. Designed by McKim, Mead and White as a summer estate, it is now used for classrooms, faculty offices, and administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University.  Also, “Vinland” in Newport, Rhode Island. Renovated by Ogden Codman, Jr.. Now part of the Salve Regina University.  Also, a townhouse, her second, a 70-room house at 1 East 71st Street, New York. Designed by Whitney Warren. Demolished.
  6. Frederick William Vanderbilt (1856–1938) built “Hyde Park” in Hyde Park, New York. Designed by McKim, Mead and White and built in 1896–99.  Also,  “Rough Point” in Newport, Rhode Island designed by Peabody and Stearns built in 1892. Also, “Pine Tree Point“, Adirondack Great Camp on Upper St. Regis Lake in 1901. Also, “Sonogee” (1903) in Bar Harbor, Maine purchased and renovated in 1915.
  7. Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt (1860–1936) built “Shelburne Farms” in Shelburne, Vermont, built in 1899.  Also, a townhouse (1883) at 680 Fifth Avenue, New York. The house was a wedding gift from William H. Vanderbilt to his daughter. Demolished.  Also, “NaHaSaNe” (1893), the 115,000 acre Great Camp located on Lake Lila in the Adirondacks.
  8. George Washington Vanderbilt II (1862–1914) built a townhouse (1887) at 9 West 53rd Street in New York City. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Demolished. Also, “Biltmore” in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1888–95. Designed by Hunt, it is the largest house in the United States.  Also, houses at 645 and 647 Fifth Avenue, New York, called the “Marble Twins”. 1902–05. Number 647 survives, a designated landmark, as the flagship store for Versace.  Also, “Pointe d’Acadie” (1869), the Bar Harbor, Maine cottage purchased and renovated in 1889. Demolished 1952

The Vanderbilts started the craze of building ostentatious mansions to showcase their wealth and to be a backdrop for their lavish parties. You will hear more about these houses in a few days when we visit the “Summer Cottages” in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Frederick Vanderbilt house in Hyde Park is arguably the smallest of the grand houses, a mere 55,000 square feet.  Unfortunately, it is undergoing restoration and thus is covered in scaffolding and slipcovers.

Today’s visitors center was originally built as a cottage for the Vanderbilts to view the ongoing construction:2017-07-04 Vanderbilt Hyde Park 01

 

The mansion as it looks today:

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We were allowed to take interior photos, but the interiors are in a state of disarray:

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As you can see, this house, like others I will show you in Newport, is simply an ostentatious display of excess;  these people were not patrons of artists who benefited their development; they simply bought castles and palaces in Europe, dismantled them, and reassembled them here in America. Don’t forget, this is one on the smallest, simplest Vanderbilt house; we will see more…

We returned on the train back to the Villa; this being the 4th of July, the Park was packed with thousands of people, crowding the beaches and lawns.  It was quite a madhouse. Luckily the RV park is about 1/2 mile beyond all the partying, so we were not affected by the crowds once we were finally able to drive by them. W spent the evening cleaning and packing. Today marks the final day of Part 1 of this Odyssey; tomorrow we rendezvous with the Nor by Nor’east caravan in Ashaway, Rhode Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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