Monday, July 11, 2005

Land's End in Newport
From Washington Lifein September 2002. The original article is here and includes a picture of the house as it stands today.

Rumor has it that Edith Wharton purchased the remote property at the southern end of Ledge Road because she wanted to live as far as possible from her mother without leaving Newport. . . .

In 1897 Edith Wharton purchased Land's End from Robert Livingston Beeckman, a former U.S. Open Tennis Championship runner-up who would go on to become Governor of Rhode Island. At that time Wharton described the main house as "incurably ugly." She agreed to pay $80,000 for the property, and spend thousands more to alter the home's facade, decorate the interior, and landscape the grounds. Ultimately, Wharton would allow that she and Ogden Codman, Jr., a revivalist architect who supervised the renovations, had finally helped the home achieve "a certain dignity." The newly constructed gardens were especially impressive having been laid-out in classical design by Beatrix Ferrand, the landscape architect responsible for the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks.