Saturday, March 24, 2012

The End of 'Whiteholme'

Above, 'Whiteholme', the Mrs. Henry Barton Jacobs estate designed by John Russell Pope c. 1901 in Newport, Rhode Island, as seen in 1960 during the ownership of Annette Townsend Philips. Below, 'Whiteholme' as it appeared in April 1963 in the days immediately preceding total demolition. Much of the interior carved paneling was purchased by the Tinney family for their collection at 'Belcourt Castle'. Click HERE and HERE for more on 'Whiteholme'. A tremendous thank you to Old Grey Dog for not only taking all these photos and sharing them but for having the foresight to wander through the half demolished house with a camera.




The view towards the library.

Looking out the front door.

The circular entrance hall.

The view of the entrance hall from halfway up the staircase.

Looking out the library towards the salon-living room.

The salon windows from the terrace.

Looking out the salon windows.

The view south.

The salon with the reception and dining rooms in the distance.

16 comments:

The Down East Dilettante said...

WOW!!

(how often does one hear the Dilettante shout that word?)

Let's thank Old Grey Dog both for the pictures, and for being such a good and evocative photographer (would that someone had taken such good pictures of demolished houses up here).

The extent of the Nun's Crimes Against Architecture (and landscape) are seriously felt here. "Let's take this building, and rather than adapting it, demolish it, and while we're at it, let's also destroy the existing landscape and walls".

The Down East Dilettante said...

Okay, can't stop gushing---these pictures help us understand the space and the idea of frivolity (serious frivolity) behind these houses, with pictures looking through the drawing room windows to those on the other side, and of the rotunda... sad but marvelous stuff

Russ Manley said...

What a beauty - and what a shame it was destroyed. I wonder if a floor plan of the place is available anywhere?

Old Grey Dog said...

Those photos taken of the house on a Sunday, at age nineteen, just days before it was demolished, were deliberate, non-felonious, tresspass. I had heard of its eminent destruction so put a roll of film in the camera to record this sad beauty. I wandered through all rooms, on all floors, even through the caretaker's quarters behind the roof top baustrades over the entrance and garden facades. Besides the twelve photos I have, as a souvenir, an ornate brass spring-loaded window latch that I found in the rubble of the Salon. On the inner, flat, side of the latch is stamped the number 14 . . . under which is stamped FT. For floor plans of both the first and second floors see either Michael Kathrens' "Newport Villas - 1885-1935", published by W.W. Norton & Company in 2009 . . . or James B. Garrison's "Mastering Tradition - The Residential Architecture of John Rusell Pope", published by Acanthus Press on 2004.

archibuff said...

Great photos, but very sad. Even in its ruined state the building is elegant. Could easily pass for any number of great houses prior to their demolition and although they salvaged some elements, it is still such a waste of fine design, materials and craftsmanship. The building shell alone is spectacular. I would love to have those balcony corbels and french door keystones.

Anonymous said...

How hauntingly beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking!

Lorra

Anonymous said...

Mr. Old Grey Dog's first picture is worth thousands of words. An overcast day with bare trees - a once simply elegant and grand mansion completely abandoned with an overgrown and neglected landscape.

How can anyone let something like this go to such complete waste? This is almost as bad as Eden Hall outside of Philadelphia. But not quite as heart-wrenching as Whitemarsh Hall.

Anonymous said...

Wait...I don't understand. Someone lived in this house in 1960, and just 3 short years later the house became this? I don't get it....

Anonymous said...

the photos show Whiteholme just days before demo after a wrecking crew went through it and took whatever of value could be pried off the walls and floors

chauncy primm said...

yea floorplans exist in the very sparse but inexpensive john russell pope book

The Down East Dilettante said...

Anonymous 9:39

I get it all too well. The 1960s were the Nadir of the demolition derby. I watched a score of big houses come down here in that era. After WWII, these houses went begging for buyers, and sold cheap I believe that the last private owner of Whiteholme picked it up for a song in 1944? and clearly didn't waste funds on much maintenance. It's a story repeated over and over---institutions were almost the only buyers in those years---and as we know, the Catholic Church really likes those yellow brick boxes, and they wanted student housing. Although Salve Regina is now committed to the public relations value of historic preservation, it came too late for this house. The entire area is no longer residential, their record as stewards is mixed---some of the houses in their care are shockingly shabby---and the real worry is the future of McKim Mead & White's masterful 'Southside' for Robert Goelet, still in the hands of the Goelet family, but pretty surrounded by Salve Regina.

Anonymous said...

"The 1960s were the Nadir of the demolition derby."

In more ways than you know.

Lorra

Kirk said...

Where in Newport was this house located?

Anonymous said...

K begin your search for Miley Hall on the grounds of Salve Regina College in Newport and you will be at ground zero. Its just two streets north of the Breakers

Old Grey Dog said...

I would like to make a correction and state that the Robert Walton Goelet villa is, and was always named, "Ochre Point". "Southside" was the property directly to the north of it, across Narragansett Avenue, belonging to Robert Ives Gammell . . . the southernmost of four continuous estates owned by the Gammell family of Providence. South to north they would be "Southside", "Ocean Lawn", "North House" and "Hopedene". I believe it was architectural historian Wayne Andrews who confused the name, and many people have followed suit ever since. And referring to the great Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion ~ it is The Breakers . . . not the Breakers.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking that americans were more interested in preservation of their beautiful architecture but alas they are exactly like french peoples...