Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Peek Inside The Golden Age of North Shore Life This Holiday Season- Part 1

On Sunday evening, Dave and I had the pleasure of visiting the “Designer’s Holiday Show House Fundraiser” at the Endicott Mansion at Glen Magna Farms, in our very own town of Danvers.  Glen Magna, part of the Essex National Heritage Area, is owned by the Danvers Historical Society which was founded in 1889 “to discover, collect and preserve objects which illustrate local history” which is, of course, a passion of mine.

The original property was purchased during the period of the War of 1812 by Joseph Peabody, a wealthy Salem shipping merchant.  From there he built a dwelling that he described as “in every respect well calculated for a gentleman’s seat.”   The property grew to 330 acres and served as the as the summer retreat for the family for one hundred and forty-four years.  By 1892, Joseph’s granddaughter Ellen Peabody Endicott further enlarged and embellished the house and grounds, and hired a Boston architectural firm to expand of the Mansion to its current classic colonial revival style.  She also had the gardens planted with rare and desirable ornamental trees and shrubs which resulted in her winning a gold medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.  

In 1901 Ellen’s son William Crowninshield Endicott brought the Derby Summer House, a two story Adamesque folly building built in 1794, to the property.  The Summer House was designed by the legendary architect and wood carver Samuel McIntire and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  After 220 years of enduring New England’s grueling weather conditions, the wooden building is in need of significant restoration, and with the help of the participating interior designers, supporting vendors, and all who visit the home, the “Designer’s Holiday Show House Fundraiser” will greatly help the Society meet the restoration expenses. 

We arrived at the estate on Sunday evening for a special tour for design bloggers after the home had closed to the public for the day.  With the short days of December, the sky was already getting dark at 4pm and the twinkly lights of the home drew us in with their magic.  It was so wonderful having the chance to meet each of the designers in their space and learn about their inspiration and design process.  Unlike a usual show house, the designers were charged with preserving the “Mansion’s historic fabric” and “melding their designs to the 1890’s to 1930’s when the Endicotts were at the height of their national and international prominence, and transformed this magnificent Mansion  again to the height of elegance.” 

So I hope that you visit, because you will not only be viewing an amazing estate and stunning design work, but also doing something good for the preservation of a historic jewel.  The Designer’s Holiday Show House Fundraiser is open until Sunday, December 15th… so you only have a few more days!  For more information please visit the Danvers Historical Society.

Check back for more on the rooms and their designers!

All photographs property of Katherine Hawkins