Monday, January 26, 2009

New Port ~The Breakers~

~The Breakers ~
There are 11 historic properties I shall start with the Grandest
The Breakers
The Breakers is the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages" and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America. Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad, which was a pivotal development in the industrial growth of the nation during the late 19Th century.
I do have my own personal story of the breakers winter of ahh 1979
on our winter recess vacation from school my mother (( bless her heart )) Packed up my middle sister and I ( cause our eldest sister was so busy with social life as we would always say )) for a two week working living tour of The Breakers ...
For the next two weeks we would stay at a guest house, gate cottage (( no small home ))
and work , hostess and learn the history values manors and ways of The Breakers and the Vanderbilt's first hand !
Where we excited ... oddly enough yes and no .. It was not a cool thing to be doing at the time never mind our ages .. It was a once in life experience and we both knew it as my Mother couldn't help pound it in at the time
(( a little note about my exceptional ((ran a tight ship Mother )) this is a woman that would bundle my two older sisters and I and jump in the car drop us off at private school we went to (( a boarding school as we were day hop)) oh Ms the school is closed .. :my mother " yes yes I know I have some errands just watch them for a few" .. can you imagine ))
The woman had grand game I tell You !!
she and my dad went skiing for the day !!
one of my neatest chores was bringing tea to The Countess (a great grand niece ) she lived there and was a real Vanderbilt . lovely woman she gave me handkerchiefs and a Christmas ornament that I still have .. well the ornament at least . A gold leaf and crystal heart .
She told the most amazing stories of summer dances that started at 11pm and went till noon the next day , alas she was a very young girl in the day . She taught me so much about kindness and giving and just gave so much time to me . It was a whole different life a most sheltered life !!
I remember talking to my sister at night who was having a completely different experience well we were three years apart *grins* she Met a really nice guy .. who was working the carriages and stables . Need I say more there ..
The decorations were amazing , we had been (as a family on our way to and from the cape ) to Newport mansions ie the breakers in past summers also Quite amazing with it's New Port sea view , right on the water .. but at Christmas WoW .. there was a magic in the air from the million tiny white lights to the grand bows everywhere ....
The peaceful quiet and the then the chatter of ohh and ah .. the grand halls and the echos .
goosebumps .. I learned first hand how so many of the mansions where destroyed and lost .Ah the gilded age money was no object but the depression hit so many were hurt .
Donating major parts of land and the homes first seasonal then eventually all is what saved so many of their own private family fortunes for they all would lost everything due to taxes .
The upkeep of this amazing build . The furniture . the textures . the floors . The woods !!
The Commodore's grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, became Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad system in 1885, and purchased a wooden house called The Breakers in Newport during that same year.
In 1893, he commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a villa to replace the earlier wood-framed house which was destroyed by fire the previous year. Hunt directed an international team of craftsmen and artisans to create a 70 room Italian Renaissance- style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Allard and Sons of Paris assisted Hunt with furnishings and fixtures, Austro-American sculptor Karl Bitter designed relief sculpture, and Boston architect Ogden Codman decorated the family quarters.
The Vanderbilts had seven children. Their youngest daughter, Gladys, who married Count Laszlo Szechenyi of Hungary, inherited the house on her mother's death in 1934.
The family Trees of this Family is amazing they all had childrens grins ..
That's a series of blogs in themselves lets try and get thru the New Port Mansions First !

a few of the children's play house ...

No comments: