The public garden and historic residence Naumkeag are located in the Massachusetts Berkshires.
At 5 Prospect Hill Road in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Joseph Hodges Choate and Caroline Dutcher Sterling Choate, two well-known New York City attorneys, once owned Naumkeag. The main building on the estate is a Shingle Style country house with 44 rooms that Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White designed and built between 1885 and 1886.
At its core, this 48-acre architectural wonder is a family home. Joseph Choate, a well-known New York lawyer and American ambassador to Great Britain, and his wife Caroline commissioned McKim, Mead & White, a renowned architectural firm, to create a holiday home in 1884. The end result was a 44-room shingle-style house where the Choate family resided for several generations till daughter Mabel Choate left it to The Trustees in 1958.
The Gilded Age, which followed the Civil War and saw great change, gave rise to Naumkeag, during which Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt amassed their wealth. The newly wealthy built grandiose country homes in the style of Europe to solidify their social position. The Choates belonged to this social group, but Naumkeag was a little different because it evolved into a beloved family home from April to November rather than a showplace open six weeks a season.
Joseph Choate was born in Salem, Massachusetts, which was known by its Native American name, Naumkeag. Following his graduation from Harvard Law School, Choate relocated to New York City, where he immediately became well-known. Choate was the top trial attorney during his long legal career, presenting matters to the Supreme Court. President McKinley appointed Choate as the ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1899. Co-founding Barnard College, Caroline Choate was a trained artist who was passionate about women’s education.
After taking over ownership of Naumkeag in 1929, Mabel Choate spent the following 30 years working with landscape designer Fletcher Steele to design the spectacular gardens that have come to define Naumkeag, including the well-known Blue Steps. Today, Naumkeag offers a look into a brief and now-extinct era of American history, seen through the eyes of one family.
The entirety of Naumkeag, including all of the furniture and fine art, was left to The Trustees of Reservations by Mabel Choate. Since it first opened its doors in 1959, the facility has gained popularity among locals and visitors to the southern Berkshires. Each year, about 11,000 visitors tour the house and take in the peace and beauty of the gardens.
Naumkeag House and Garden Restoration
For a five-part restoration project at the historic Naumkeag site, the Trustees of Reservations selected Allegrone to serve as the construction manager. The main Naumkeag building’s entire roof was restored as part of the project. The restoration process required heating and bending the tiles to meet the curved curvature of the roofline in accordance with ancient customs. The shingles will eventually turn a silvery grey tone and turn natural.
According to Joanna Ballantine, director of The Trustees of Reservations Western Region, the project will cost a total of $3.3 million, which will cover the repair of the mansion’s roof, landscaping, and gardens.
Phase one of five is now finished, and the roof is halfway finished. The Blue Steps 75th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser will be held at Naumkeag this coming Saturday by The Trustees.
This is a brand-new event for us that is intended to honor the Blue Steps while also assisting us in meeting the challenge of raising money for our matching commitment, according to Ballantine. The opportunity to witness the restoration process in action is another benefit.
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The rehabilitation job started in the snow, moved into the rain, and is now continuing in the heat of the summer. However, regional construction teams from Monterey to Pittsfield were able to complete their job in 12 weeks to meet the deadline.
Nearly 200 trees were removed, a stone wall close to the Chinese pagoda on the south lawn was rebuilt, and the original perspective and landscape profile that matched Bear Mountain’s curves were restored. The Blue Steps’ stone and cedar work was repainted and restored, and 49 birch trees were planted to complete the grove around the stairway. Additionally, they widened and restored the Linden Allee’s walkway and view.
Each pricing is shown for the appropriate age group or discounted rate group. If available, you may also directly reserve your discounted online ticket for the Naumkeag here.
Prices & discounts for tickets
- Adults -$20.00
- Child (3 – 12) – Pay $5
- Trustees Members – Free
Quick Recap here
Joseph Hodges Choate and Caroline Dutcher Sterling Choate’s former country residence, Naumkeag, is situated at 5 Prospect Hill Road in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The main building on the estate is a Shingle Style country house with 44 rooms that Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White designed and built between 1886 and 1887. The estate is renowned for its expansive gardens, which were created in the middle of the 20th century by renowned landscape architect Fletcher Steele and Mabel Choate. The Trustees of Reservations currently owns Naumkeag, a National Historic Landmark District, and runs it as a nonprofit museum.
Who owned Naumkeag?
- When its owner, Mabel Choate, passed away in 1958, she left the inspirational 48-acre property to The Trustees at an advanced age.
Why is the name Naumkeag given?
- Salem is well known for a variety of reasons, including being known as the “Witch City” of the world. However, Salem was Naumkeag prior to 1629. The basis of the word, “Namas,” in Algonkian, means “fish.” It indicated a historic location where fish migrations occurred and where fish were caught using nets, weirs, and mishoonash (wooden dugout boats).
At Naumkeag, is marriage permitted?
- This magnificent house, decorated in Gilded Age style and known for its exquisite gardens and unique Berkshire “Cottage,” is the ideal location for your wedding.
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