Classical American Homes Preservation Trust Historic Properties
Richard Hampton Jenrette a self-proclaimed “house-aholic”, established the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust (CAHPT) and Richard Hampton Jenrette Foundation in 1994. Mr. Jenrette has spent the last forty five years acquiring and restoring homes. Some were sold and given away but he kept 6 of the finest. This not-for-profit organization will eventually own, maintain and manage sharing the homes with the public. In additon to the restoration the next logical step was the collecting of period antiques to furnish the houses. Today, Mr. Jenrette owns hundreds of antiques, almost entirely American and many original to the houses.
1. Ayr Mount
“Ayr Mount is a Federal-era plantation house built in 1815 in Hillsborough, North Carolina by William Kirkland. Kirkland, named the house in honor of his birthplace, Ayr, Scotland. Unlike the other houses in the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust collection, Ayr Mount looks deceptively simple, even austere on the outside. There are no soaring columns proclaiming its classicism. On the other hand, Ayr Mount is far grander – especially in the interior – than one might expect from a first look at the exterior. The ceiling height of 14 feet is unusual for this period as is the elaborate Federal period woodwork and plasterwork found throughout the house. Ayr Mount also was the first major residence built of brick in this area of predominantly colonial era wood frame houses. At the time of its construction at the end of the War of 1812, Ayr Mount was considered one of the finest residential structures in Piedmont, North Carolina. “
This home is currently open to the public. Information for visiting the home and its beautiful grounds are here. The preservation of the land surrounding Ayr Mount is an important part of Mr. Jenrette’s mission. Ayr Mount was originally a 503-acre plantation, but today the house is surrounded by approximately 60 remaining acres of gardens, woodlands, pastures, and serene riverside lookouts. These grounds, plus the trails opposite it across the Eno River, total to over 287 acres. There are three distinct trails that are privately maintained without governmental funding by Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. Enjoy year round.
Video on Poets Walk. Publication available on this house, The Kirklands of Ayr Mount chronicles the rise and fall of Kirkland’s fortunes and his descendants’ efforts to retain the family mansion for 150 years after Kirkland’s death. The book also provides a detailed picture of the small but historically important town of Hillsborough.
“Millford Plantation, built in 1839-41, is considered by many to be the finest example of Greek Revival residential architecture in America. The grandeur of the house, located in such a remote section of rural South Carolina, seems to come as a surprise to first-time visitors, who must drive over miles of dirt roads and through moss-draped forests to reach the house. Suddenly the house appears out of nowhere, in all its classical glory – six massive fluted Corinthian columns, 16-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, a domed rotunda enclosing a spectacular circular staircase – all the features to impress that are inherent in Greek Revival architecture. Surrounded by live oaks, magnolias and green lawns, Millford seems as though it might be part of a dream.”
How did Millford survive the Civil War? It was a miracle. On what turned out to be the final day of the War before Lee’s surrender, Northern troops, under the command of Brig. General Edward Elmer Potter, arrived at Millford. Gov. Manning met the Yankee General at the front door and observed: “Well, the house was built by a Potter (Nathaniel Potter, the architect) and it looks as though it will be destroyed by a Potter.” General Potter responded: “No, you are protected. Nathaniel Potter was my brother.”
Although their fortune was destroyed by the Civil War, the Mannings managed to hold on to Millford until 1902 when it was sold to Mary Clark Thompson of New York, who later bequeathed it to her two Clark nephews. The Clarks owned and loved Millford for the next 90 years, enjoying it as a winter residence with ample opportunities for hunting and fishing. The Clarks sold the mansion and 400 acres to Richard Hampton Jenrette in 1992, but they still retain several thousand acres of timberland in the vicinity. Visit Information.
3. Roper House
Roper House, was built in 1838 on the recently completed High Battery with a commanding view of the Charleston, South Carolina harbor. The house is an outstanding example of early 19th Century Greek Revival architecture in a city better known for its 18th Century Georgian-style architecture. Roper House is built on a monumental scale, with massive, two-story-high Ionic columns raised above a first floor, arched loggia pedestal base. Ceiling heights are 18 feet on the piano nobile, with tall windows extending to the floor. The piazza, opening off the double parlors, has the finest view in Charleston.
It is said that Mr. Roper intended his showcase home to be the first residence seen by visitors approaching Charleston from the sea.
The architect of this imposing house is undocumented, but some architectural historians have attributed its design to Karl Friedrich Reichert, a highly regarded German who was working in Charleston at the time on the new Charleston Hotel.
Richard H. Jenrette’s new book about the Roper House is now available for order. Columns by the Sea: The Roper House takes a closer look at this National Landmark and National Registered Historic Place with full-page images of the house and its collection.
Cane Garden, located in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, is an example of a small, classical Palladian Villa. Built in 1784, Cane Garden was extensively remodeled in the 1820s in the newly fashionable classical style, with columns added on both the front and back sides of the home.
Cane Garden was burned by a disastrous fire in the early 20th Century, leaving only the massive coral block walls as a shell of the original structure. It stood as a romantic ruin for at least 40 years until it was rebuilt by the Howard Wall Family of Portland, Oregon shortly after World War II. While they retained the original walls and structure of the house, there was no attempt at an historically accurate rebuilding. The Walls owned Cane Garden for nearly four decades.
Richard H. Jenrette purchased the house from the Walls’ estate in 1985 and embarked on a plan to return Cane Garden to its original look, to the extent it could be ascertained. The present house is a replica incorporating what was left of the original house.
Cane Garden is located on a high hill overlooking the blue Caribbean. There are 265 acres, including a mile of beachfront land. The front lawn stretches down to the sea. Ruins of the original mill, remnants of slave quarters and other plantation buildings are scattered over the property to the west of the Great House.
The interior of Cane Garden today contains what may be the largest private collection of Island mahogany furniture made in St. Croix or other islands in the West Indies in the early 19th Century. The collection is primarily attributable to Mrs. Howard Wall, who began collecting Island mahogany furniture in the post-World War II years when it was out of fashion. Richard Jenrette has maintained and added to the collection.
The George F. Baker Houses is a complex of several adjoining residences once owned by the Baker Family on the corner of Park Avenue and East 93rd Street. The carriage house for this complex, 69 East 93rd Street, is now headquarters for Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. The private residence of Richard H. Jenrette is 67 East 93rd Street. The complex was built in the 1920s by the architectural firm, Delano & Aldrich. The location is the highest point in Manhattan, and the Bakers even arranged to have their own railroad spur built in the basement, linking their private railroad car to the tracks running underneath Park Avenue.
George F. Baker and J. P. Morgan, close friends and frequent allies, were America’s most prominent bankers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mr. Baker was the long-time Chairman and principal stockholder of The First National Bank of New York, which later became First National City Bank and then Citibank, as it is called today. Mr. Baker was known for his philanthropy, including building the entire original campus of the Harvard Business School in Boston during the 1920s.
Look what I found in the Gallery of pictures for the Baker Houses, a very unattractive louvered grille?? Mr. Jenrette could afford any decorative solution, even an investment casting but how about our Arts and Crafts.
Beaux-Artes’ historic reproduction Arts and Crafts Decorative grilles were originally made in New York State in approximately 1870-1914. In our opinion they are the most outstanding grilles ever made in the USA. They were a particular favorite of Andrew Carnegie who placed them in most of the “Carnegie Libraries” he built for any municipality who requested one from 1883 to 1929. We have maintained the integrity of the original design utilizing 3D technology to create sizes for today’s heating and air conditioning systems.
Arts and Crafts style grille 16″ x 30″ $299. Our Field Stone Finish would be a good choice.
” Edgewater, built in 1825 on the Hudson River in upstate New York, combines classical architecture with a dramatic setting to create one of the Hudson Valley’s most charming riverside homes. The house is built on a small peninsula extending into the river and faces due west across the river to the Catskill Mountains. Surrounded by green lawn, ancient trees, and water on three sides, the house seems secluded and has the feel of being on a small island.”
To preserve, protect and open to the public examples of classical American residential architecture, surrounding landscapes and trails, as well as fine and decorative arts of the first half of the 19th century.
A final objective of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust is to preserve, protect and open to the public examples of classical American residential architecture, surrounding landscapes and trails, as well as fine and decorative arts of the first half of the 19th century, and to make sure that these fine old homes are enjoyed and a “fun” experience to visit. Mr. Jenrette believes the houses owned by CAHPT should also be opened “off hours” on special occasions – to groups that will respect the integrity of the house and enjoy it. All too often, house museums close at 5 p.m. Yet the magic of an old house often only comes out at sunset or with candlelight.
“It is my hope that the old homes that I am turning over to CAHPT – some already nearly 200 years old – will be around another 100 years or more, serving as models and guides to the spirit and aspiration of the people who founded our nation. Above all, I want visitors to these houses to have a memorable and fun visit – and then join our cause of preserving America’s heritage of classical architecture.”
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