30.5.11

ACROSS THE STREET FROM MRS. WHARTON

In 1903, Edith Wharton, who had spent summers at Newport since childhood, sold Land's End, the cottage that she had renovated and decorated with the help of Ogden Codman, but had not occupied since 1900.  The project had been so successful that the pair collaborated on The Decoration of Houses, which was both Wharton's first book, and which was one of the most influential design tomes of its era, helping to sweep out the gilded excesses of the late 19th century, and bringing to the fore a preference for classical simplicity.

Although Wharton had long had a love-hate affair with the resort, and her reasons for departure were many----the lack of intellectual discourse endemic to places of fashion, and the damp climate among them----I like to think that (and I realize that this is not an officially sanctioned notion, but mere whim on my part) perhaps the last straw was in 1899, when the view from her elegant octagonal sun room was compromised when construction commenced on grim new house across Ledge Road, one whose unknown architect clearly had not yet absorbed Mrs. Wharton's design principles.

Breakwater as it appeared from Mrs. Wharton's lawn
That house, named Breakwater by its owner, Charles Lippitt, son of, and later himself a governor of Rhode Island, was one of Newport's largest cottages, a fair approximation of an English Castle---a little Belvoir, a dash of Windsor, a soupcon of Carnarvon---and the very image of what Wharton's friend Henry James a few years later would so famously refer to as one of the 'white elephants, all house and no garden...witless with no soul',  that had risen up to replace the simpler wooden cottages of his own youth in Newport.  The pile of mortar forbiddingly dominated its spectacular site on rocky ledges at the end of a point between Bellevue Avenue and Bailey's beach.


In an 1899 news story, a reporter for the New York Times speculated that Mr. Lippitt's grand structure, then under construction, was to be an apartment house, or first class hotel, so large were the foundations.


But it was not to be a hotel, much as the reporter felt one was needed in Newport, but merely the Lippitt's summer cottage, three floors of gloom, in sharp contrast to the sparkling marble and gilt palaces around the corner.  

The site had long been a favored spot for local fishermen, and was also traversed by the last stretch of the Cliff Walk, that ancient right of way that passed between mansions and shore.   Finding both facts unsatisfactory, Lippitt proceeded to eject the public from his property, building a wall to prevent the Fishermen (it was soon demolished in protest), and to cut off access to the Cliff Walk, complaining that picnickers could be seen at the edge of his lawn.  He failed in both attempts.

Lippitt died in 1924, and the castle which had burned around the same time, was not rebuilt.  In 1926, the ruins were purchased by architect John Russell Pope, as the site of a new summer home for his family.

Pope's had a long relationship with Newport.  In 1901, he designed Whiteholme, Beaux Arts palace for Mrs. Robert Garrett, later Mrs. Henry Barton Jacobs, widow of the president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Whiteholme, the Garrett cottage at Newport
 And in 1912, he married Sadie Jones, the daughter of the very Social Pembroke Jones's of Wilmington North Carolina, whose own Bellevue Avenue cottage, Pembroke Lodge, a fussy affair loosely based on the White House, was designed by Hoppin & Koen (who also designed The Mount, the Lenox house Edith Wharton built after leaving Newport)


In 1915, Pope completed one of his most famous houses, Bonniecrest in Newport, for Stuart Duncan, the Lea & Perrin's King.  It was a grand and faithful representation of a Tudor country house, based most notably on Compton Wynates.  For the design of his own cottage on the Lippitt site in 1927, Pope chose a simpler Olde English idiom, that of a half timber English cottage, albeit on a scale probably never dreamed of by the simple yeomen whose cottages inspired it.

Bonnie Crest, the Stuart Duncan cottage at Newport, by John Russell Pope.  The property immediately to the left was Pen Craig, the home of Edith Wharton's parents.
The Waves, John Russell Pope's own house at Newport, built on the ramparts of Lippitt's Castle

Using the ramparts of the Lippitt Castle as the starting point, Pope built a house, which for all its deliberate aged charm, nevertheless was attuned to its site in a very modern way, seeming to grow out of the very ledges upon which it was built, its weathered natural materials in harmony with the land in a way that the castle had never been. A rambling arc plan allowed every room sun and views, and protected a courtyard garden that evoked the work of Jekyll and Lutyens in England. Taste had indeed changed in the fewer than three decades that separated the buildings.  Facing the house across the garden was Pope's studio, where he indulged passions for painting and photography.  The Popes named their new house The Waves.

The south front of The Waves
The Waves, garden front
Two aerial views of The Waves from Country Life, 1935

After the Popes, the Waves was owned by Josephine Hartford Bryce, heiress to the A&P Grocery fortune.  Her daughter, Nuala, married Senator Claiborne Pell, and built a cottage, Pelican Lodge, at the northern end of the property.  Later, The Waves was purchased by Barclay Warburton, an heir to the Wanamaker's Department Store fortune, who divided it into condominiums, which it remains to this day.  In a 1961 article about the decline of Newport, Time Magazine reported that the dining room alone now held a four room apartment. 
A long hall ran the length of the garden front

The Studio


Looking at the interiors of The Waves in old black & white photographs, one has to remind oneself that these rooms were actually alive with color.  This was brought home to the Dilttante when he realized that in these 1930s photos, the library chairs are covered in the very same Chinese inspired block print linen that he used for a pair of chairs in the 1970s, in a palette of green and brick and blue on tan ground.


Would Mrs. Wharton have approved of the Waves?  Might she have remained across the street?  Doubtful, but it is entertaining to speculate the course of American literature had she not left...

All uncredited black & white photographs of The Waves from the Gottscho-Schliesner Collection, Library of Congress.


22.5.11

HABS AND ACCURACY: You Still Have to Be Able to Think for Yourself

Fast quiz:  Which of these two houses is the Ruggles House at Columbia Falls, Maine?

A.
B.
 The answer of course, is that 'B' is the Ruggles House, one of the most exquisite Federal era structures in Maine.   Photo 'A' is of the James P. White house in Belfast, Maine, designed by Calvin Ryder, and one of the finest Greek Revival houses in the state.  Both photos are from the estimable online catalog of the Historic American Buildings Survey, the staggering catalog of American architecture, humble and grand, started as a works project during the Depression, and which continues its important work today.  Many buildings long lost are thus preserved for our collective memory.  Many of the earliest photographs in the catalog are evocative in a way that modern pictures cannot be, as below:




 That's the good news.  The bad news is that both photographs appear in the catalog entry for Ruggles House with this caption:

10. SOUTH FRONT FROM THE SOUTHEAST
HABS ME,15-COLUF,1-10

In my frequent wanderings through the HABS catalog, I have found many such errors, enough sadly, that they make suspect the accuracy and reliability of the catalog as a whole.  I confess, as if the regular reader hadn't noticed, a passion for the facts---accurate, hard facts.  I enjoy the hunt, separating urban legend from what really happened, reconstructing a scenario from sometimes conflicting accounts, bringing logic to the proceedings.  It's why I prefer the New York Times to Fox News, any political leanings aside.  When I'm wrong, as I often am (don't tell my friends that I admit it), I am glad of being corrected and set on the path to truth and righteousness.   And so it is always disheartening to discover that a major and authoritative source has strayed.
One assumes, of course, that the huge job of scanning and uploading these thousands of images was performed by interns, and in fact hopes, given the evidence, that it wasn't done by Library of Congress staff. Or, in fairness, perhaps the pictures have been mislabeled from the beginning, Either way, most of the errors are easily enough spotted by merely looking at picture and caption and stopping for a moment to assess the information given.   Internships are important----they give a student experience in a chosen field, they give needed assistance to organizations and institutions whose resources are stretched.  But interns need the ability to think critically, and to ask questions---and staff need to supervise, else you wind up with examples like below, also from HABS, this time of Chateau Sur Mer, the grand Wetmore cottage at Newport designed by Seth Bradford, and variously altered by Richard Morris Hunt, John Russell Pope, and Frederic Rhinelander King.

It starts out well enough, with this photo of Chateau Sur Mer, captioned as a view from the northwest, as indeed it is:  
 But things start to deteriorate a few photographs later, with this view of the opposite corner, described as from the northeast.  


Um, no, that would be from the southeast.  Looking northwest.  One looking at this photograph cold, neither knowing the geography of Newport, or this house, would have no reason to doubt the caption, all the more reason that it should be accurate.


From there, things go rapidly downhill----For example:


14. MOON GATE FROM THE SOUTHWEST HABS RI, 3-NEWP, 59A-1
HABS RI,3-NEWP,59-14

Obviously, regardless of the caption, this is a photograph of the stair hall, looking North-northeast, if anyone cares, but one imagines the hapless surfer of the photographs scratching his head to try to figure out what in hell constitutes a moon gate in the picture.


But that's as nothing---let's continue on our tour of Chateau Sur Mer via HABS.  The alert reader will immediately note that not all is what it claims to be:


15. SOUTH GATEWAY ON BELLEVUE AVENUE FROM THE SOUTHWEST HABS RI, 3-NEWP, 59B-1
HABS RI,3-NEWP,59-15

16. PORTER'S LODGE AND ENTRANCE ARCHWAY FROM THE WEST HABS RI, 3-NEWP, 59C-1
HABS RI,3-NEWP,59-16

18. VIEW OF STABLES FROM THE SOUTHWEST HABS RI, 3-NEWP, 59E-1
HABS RI,3-NEWP,59-18

19. FRONT OF STABLE FROM THE SOUTHWEST (CLOSE VIEW) HABS RI, 3-NEWP, 59E-2
HABS RI,3-NEWP,59-19

24. LIGHTING FIXTURE IN BILLIARD ROOM
HABS RI,3-NEWP,59-24

26. SOUTH WALL OF LIBRARY WITH DESK CLOSED
HABS RI,3-NEWP,59-26

 The photo of the library is my particular favorite, because as anyone can seethe desk is open.  

But, back to serious.  Each photograph is numbered on the negative, as one sees.  The numbers are tied to a photo caption list, from which the captions seen here are generated.  Hence, the level at which whoever did this was not paying attention had to be off the charts, and likewise the lack of supervisory checking.  For example, the photo accompanying caption # 18, claiming to be the stable, with # 24 written on the negative, indeed does match the caption for # 24.  And # 24, numbered 30 at the top of the negative, appears again later, as itself with this correct caption:

30. GREEN PARLOR, LOOKING WEST FROM THE BALLROOM HABS RI,3-NEWP,59-30

I'm sure I appear didactic, but it is worrisome that the organizations charged with research and accuracy sometimes fall down beyond the point of acceptable human error.  Recently, while seeking material for a recent project, of importance to the money-making career enhancing portion of my life, not merely blogging fun, I wandered to the Bangor Public Library.  I needed something very specific from a vintage issue of Country Life in America,  and knew that the Bangor Library had a complete run of the magazine.  And here's where the trouble began.  The Bangor Library, a magnificent structure designed by Peabody & Stearns, expanded a few years ago, more than doubling its faciility with an addition by Robert A.M. Stern Associates.  More recently, they purchased another buiding across town for use as a 'last copy' storage center, and moved their bound periodicals there.  Inconvenient though it is for the general public---it is not staffed, hence materials have to be requested and brought a few at a time to the main library building, a delay of sometimes days.  But at least they are not throwing out the primary materials, as are so many. I went to a reference librarian, who looked up Country Life in her periodicals catalog, and determined that there were no issues in the collection from the 1930s.   As they had all dates both before and after, and the library had had a complete run, this seemed unlikely---that they would for some reason dispose of just those years and keep the rest.  I gently pushed, and hit a complete stone wall---basically 'catalog says NO'.  I went back again a few days later, and this time at least got her to find that the magazine had gone through several subtle name changes, accounting for the different blocks of cataloging.  But, the issue I needed still did not appear in her list, and there the request died.  A plea to at least check the shelves resulted, surprisingly, in refusal.  But never underestimate a Dilettante in need of information.  Finding a different person at the reference desk I asked a third time, laying out my case, and he quickly agreed that it was likely there, lost in the cataloging crack, would check himself, and within 48 hours had provided the needed issue.  One still can't beat first hand knowledge and engagement in the task.

As for HABS, for all its flaws, where else would interested parties be able to find such wonders as a set of cross section drawings of Chateau Sur Mer?  Or from the floor plans that a windowless room on the fourth floor mezzanine of one of the towers, accessible only by many far flung flights of stairs, and through a warren of attics and trunk rooms and service passages, was called the liquor room? And why?  Is it where the Wetmore sisters stored their booze during prohibition?  Where a dipsomaniac uncle retired to drink in secrecy? 

Unfortunately, for many of the recorded buildings, the earlier the material, in particular, data pages are missing.
End of rant.  In a couple of days, you'll be able to read the post whose research started all this.

In the meantime, for more about the Ruggles House, click HERE for a post on that most delightful structure.

For the full catalog entry in HABS about Chateau Sur Mer, click HERE

20.5.11

SO A DILETTANTE WALKS INTO A CONVENIENCE STORE, AND THERE'S THIS ELEPHANT...

I used to think, even if not trendy or fashionable myself, that at least I had some bead about what was going on in those worlds.  However, I guess not so much, because more and more, things get by me---and how.

While stopping for gas at a  less-than-upmarket convenience store in a not-so-chic part of rural Maine the other day, I wandered in for a snack, and scanned the displays for my choices.  All the usuals were there:  Cheetos, salted peanuts, Famous Amos Cookies, Lilly Pulitzer Special Edition Animal Crackers, Snickers Bars, beef jerky----whoa, wait a brightly printed cotton pickin' second!

LILLY PULITZER SPECIAL EDITION ANIMAL CRACKERS????   In East Podunk?  Anxiously awaited by the mill workers and fishermen stopping by for a six pack and snack on their way home from their very hard, very dirty, work, no doubt?  Talk about ironic---I'm still trying to picture it--- "Forget that beef jerky, Mike, I'm gonna have me some of them Lilly Pulitzer Animal Crackers with my Bud tonight!"   

It turns out, after googling 'Lilly Pulitzer Animal Crackers', that I am indeed the very last person on earth to know, let alone blog, about this, the strangest marketing marriage since Joe Namath donned pantyhose, but that doesn't stop me from duly noting my amusement.  One wonders where the nice folk at whatever corporation now owns the Lilly label---I'm not interested enough to Google the answer---thought these 'special edition' crackers were going to wind up?   Grocers in Palm Beach and the Hamptons perhaps?  Or is this a clever attempt to broaden the brand, and we can soon expect Lilly Pulitzer for K-mart?  They've got to do something to replace Martha now that she's gone to Macy's.  No, wait, I've got it, Lilly Pulitzer for Carhart safety wear! Lilly Pulitzer steel toed work boots! 
The Lilly Blog announces that 1.5 million boxes were produced, and placed in sometimes  unexpected places (no kidding), in addition to a few saved for their stores, and that one can even get on their facebook page for finding them.  Well folks, I found three of them, and I wasn't even looking.  (click HERE for Lilly blog)

Already, they are apparently collector's items---I see them on eBay for thrice what I paid (silly reader---you didn't really think I'd just pass them by without buying a couple, did you?), so maybe I'll just put mine away for retirement.  Right next to the Beanie babies.  

As you see, once again, I'm behind the curve, but if you'll all promise to be kind, I'll tell you about the pair of pink and orange Lilly Men jeans I had back when I was a skinny teenager.  On second thought, I've changed my mind.  Not on your life.  And all the pictures have been destroyed.

UPDATE:  Color me fuschia pink and lime green with embarrassment.  Upon closer inspection, I find that a portion of the proceeds from this special edition go to the Urban Arts Partnership.  I can't make fun of that.

15.5.11

MOVING HOUSES: A LA ROCHELLE POSTSCRIPT

Moving one's house has always been a popular pasttime in New England.  Since the earliest days, buildings have been on the move, by land, by sea, by oxen or truck, whole or in parts.  My own house, a cape built in 1814 was replaced when the family who owned it achieved a modest prosperity in the late 19th century and built a new larger house designed by William Ralph Emerson.  Rather than demolish the existing house, where the owner's wife had grown up, they lifted it from its foundations, put it on greased logs, and then moved it across fields to its present location.  

Drawings of the house that caused mine to be moved ( Drawings by W.R. Emersonformerly in possession of the Dilettante, now in the collection of Maine State Historic Preservation commission
In the neighboring town of Castine, Tory loyalists, not wishing to live in the new United States after the Revolution, took their houses apart, and transported them by boat to Saint Andrews New Brunswick, where they were re-erected, and their owners remained subjects of King George.   Elsewhere in our town is a house built in Ellsworth, 15 miles away, in 1796.  When threatened with demolition, it was purchased by a decorator who borrowed a barge from the St. Regis Paper Company (''fortunately, our family had stock in the company'') and floated it to her parent's summer estate here.  And, in a post last year, I told the tale of Spite House, a Federal Mansion that took an 80 mile trip by sea from its original site in Phippsburg Maine (click HERE).

After writing last week about "La Rochelle" a grand old summer cottage at Bar Harbor, I was reminded of another traveling house  (Click HERE for the previous post).


Early postcard view of three of La Rochelle's neighbors on West Street, built within a few years of each other, before trees and planting matured and gave some sense of separation.  L - R, 'Sunset', designed by Fred Savage; 'Far Niente' designed by Bruce Price, and 'Aloha' designed by William Appleton Potter of Potter & Robertson
One of the fascinating things, to me, about fashionable summer resorts is how the desire to be near society trumped the need for a little elbow room, and how the variety of architectural styles, sit cheek by jowl on lots often as small as those in the city, making strange bedfellows in their architectural cacophony.  West Street in Bar Harbor was no exception.  The first house on the street was La  Rochelle in all its French Renaissance glory.  Its nearest neighbor, the summer cottage of Kentucky poet George Douglass Sherley was a log and stone lodge on a mere half acre of shorefront, and so it went down the street, as one passed shingle style, colonial revival, and Eastlake Victorian cottages by some of the most important architects of late 19th century America.

Photograph of the Sherley cottage by E.E. Soderholtz from The Country House, A Practical Manual by Charles Edwin Hooper, 1903.
The addition of the Sherley property allowed Mr. Bowdoin's cottage a central location on its property.
The Sherley cottage was built and designed by a local carpenter to Mr. Sherley's specifications sometime after 1900.  When Mr. Sherley decided to give up Bar Harbor in 1912, he sold the land to his  neighbor, Mr. Bowdoin of La Rochelle, who desired a larger lawn.   The house, however, wasn't included in the sale.  Mr. Sherley instead had the place dismantled, as if it were a giant Lincoln Log kit, and had the whole shipped back to Lexington, where he had it re-erected.  And of course, I'd love to know if it still exists.  I once saw a picture taken in the 1950's at its later location, but there the trail grows cold.

3.5.11

AND THE ANSWER IS....



 Thanks to the intrepid Flo, yesterday's beautiful mystery house (click here) is a mystery no longer.  The handsome house was built in Roxbury, near what is now the intersection of Washington St. and Blue Hill Avenue, around 1800 by one Thomas Kilby Jones, a prosperous merchant, as seen in the 19th century engraving below.  It was demolished in 1898, as the tide of development overtook the neighborhood, which had become 'Grove Hall' which had been the name of the estate.  General Dearborn never had anything to do with the house, and it is apparently just one of those labeling errors.  Any study of history is a search for the truth, often obscured below many layers of urban legend.


The embarrassing part?  I had gotten as far as the first page of the website that Flo found, and failed to click the link that would have taken me to the place of enlightenment.

The house had a checkered history, related here in an excerpt from http://www.gettingtotheroots.org/grove_hall_history:


"The Grove Hall estate and mansion stood at this crossroads for nearly a century from 1800 to 1898, although it served many different purposes over the years. The original owner, Thomas Kilby Jones, was “a prominent merchant and auctioneer of Boston and a gentleman of liberal hospitality.”15 He joined the First Church of Roxbury in 1804 and was a trustee of the Roxbury Latin School.16 In 1832 the original Grove Hall mansion was enlarged and became a hotel and summer boarding house resort. By 1837 it was owned by Edward D. Clarke and managed by C. A. Flagg. Bowen’s 1838 travel guide describes it as “a delightful resort for private parties, having every accommodation for their recreation and amusement.”17 The estate was converted into the American Orthopedic Institute in the 1840s by Dr. Alanson Abbe. The institute treated various medical conditions (curvature of the spine, paralysis of the limbs, club feet, etc.) and offered several regular school courses so young people could continue their studies."

And there you have it.  Thanks Flo.  My best regards to Frederic March.  But now I have more questions:  What sort of space did that pavilion at the top of the house hold?  A study?  The nursery?  An observation room?  Maybe even, as sometime happened, a ballroom?  Or was it merely attic behind that ambitious facade?



1.5.11

AN INTERESTING HOUSE, & QUESTIONS WHOSE ANSWERS I DO NOT KNOW

I have a particular fondness for the houses of Federal era New England---and if that house, as is increasingly rare, has survived in untouched condition---free of replacement windows, plastic shutters, or any of the dozens of injustices so often inflicted upon them by well intentioned (or not so well intentioned) owners, then so much the better.  A little faded neglect?  Better still.  I understand all too well when I read Nancy Lancaster's musings on how the shabby and pure Virginia houses of her youth affected her aesthetic sensibilities, for so too is it for me with the faded houses that still populated New England in my own youth some fifty years later.  

I love these buildings for many reasons---for their reflection of the aspirations of a new country, for their classically inspired proportions and details, and for a certain provincial quality that pervades all but the most sophisticated examples.  I wonder at their details, executed in the pine that was so plentiful in New England, but based on examples that would have been executed in stone in England, or in Italy whence came their ultimate inspiration.  I mused recently in other posts about a pair of country houses in Dorchester, built for members of the glittering new society that formed around Boston after the Revolution.


Thus, when I came across the photograph above in the course of searching pictures for my posts about the Swan (click here) and Morton (here) Houses, I was, as they might have said in Federal America, 'smote' between the eyes.  Here it all was---and with the bravura gesture of the high pediment, a detail traveled from Palladian Italy via Georgian England.  In years of passionate architectural tourism, I thought I had encountered them all, but this one, at least to me, was news.  And its condition!  Untouched, unimproved, shabby but not derelict.  If I could marry a photograph, this would be the one.  But, being an old fashioned guy, I thought we should become acquainted first, yet maddeningly little information could be found about my new love.  The caption stated that it was the 'Dearborn Mansion, Grove Hall' and that the picture was taken in 1868, and apparently, like the Swan and Morton houses, had been in Dorchester.  I googled myself into a stupor, and nearly went without dinner trying to find out more about my mysterious new love, but came up empty.  I roamed through my own library, and not a bit more solid information could be found.  A General Dearborn had been prominent in Roxbury and Dorchester affairs.  A neighborhood in Roxbury, which borders Dorchester, is known as Grove Hall, after a long demolished mansion---but, that mansion was not Dearborn's.
Plate 55, Design for a House, from Asher Benjamin's American Builder's Companion
And what of its amazing design?  What early designer had created this? One of the many talented carpenter builders?  One of the early and rare architects, like Charles Bulfinch?  Had its design come from a pattern book?  And how, without knowing it, had he nevertheless so evoked the Veneto in this house, while he was probably only thinking of England?  There are several related houses in New England that follow the general design  of this house, but none quite have its elan. In Asher Benjamin's Builder's Companion, one of the designs shown is for a house with a tall central pavilion, and the fanlight in the Dearborn house, with its spiderweb tracery, follows one in Benjamin.  Charles Bulfinch, like Stanford White, has more buildings attributed to him than are reasonable, but the central pavilion on the Dearborn house certainly makes one think of the library building that centered his design for the long vanished Franklin Crescent, Boston's echo of Adamesque London (and whose ambitious development ruined Bulfinch financially).

The Franklin Crescent, and Bulfinch's original drawing for the library at center.

And then, what of those grand and graceful spandrels that flank the pavilion and give the design its unexpected Bravura?  It is a composition and motif one sees over and over in English work, in turn inspired by Italian originals.  One is immediately reminded of the end pavilions at Palladio's Villa Barbara at Maser.
End Pavilion of Villa Barbaro at Maser, by Andrea Palladio
And Bulfinch mined the composition for his brilliant masterpiece, the so-called 'Brick Church' at Lancaster Massachusetts.

The First Church of Christ Unitarian, Lancaster Massachusetts, by Charles Bulfinch, 1816
The composition of the Dearborn house had been used before in New England.  An early example is a house built around 1800 for Samuel Tenney in Exeter, New Hampshire.  This house was built by a housewright named Ebenezer Clifford, working with a designer-housewright named Bradbury Johnson.  Although probably nearly contemporary with the Dearborn house, its design, thought to be based on a plate in a pattern book by English architect Roger Morris, looks backward, and Georgian, rather than neo-classical in aspect appears to be earlier than it is.
The Samuel Tenney House, Exeter, New Hampshire, 1800 (Historic American Buildings Survey)
A few years later, Johnson would design his verion of Bulfinch's crescent for the New Hampshire Fire & Marine Insurance Company on Market Square in Portsmouth, again utilizing the high central pavilion (the right wing is now much altered).

The New Hampshire Fire & Marine Insurance Company building, now the Portsmouth Athenaeum, 1803

In Kennebunk, Maine, the William Lord mansion, built in 1801, closely echoes the design of the Dearborn mansion, but without the quite the scale and bravura and perfect integration of parts.


The William Lord mansion, Kennebunk, 1801 (White Pine Monographs, Volume IV, no. 2, 1916)
The Sullivan Dorr house in Providence, Rhode Island, designed in 1809 by John Holden Greene follows the center pavilion composition, but with a flat roof.

Sullivan Dorr House, Providence, Rhode Island, 1816
Here I digress for a moment, with a picture of the portico on the Dorr House, in an American Federal Version of the Strawberry Hill Gothick style, as applied to a house of American inspiration and otherwise neo-classical detailing.

Portico of the Sullivan Dorr house combines Gothick details with neo-classical detailing on the ceiling cove.
But now I've wandered a bit far from my original points, which were curiousity about the Dearborn house in particular, and in general the beauty with which the architects of the early Republic designed buildings that hark back to England of the 18th century, when her architects in turn were borrowing from 16th century Italy.  And the tradition continued---compare for example, Phillip Trammel Shutze's 'Swan House', designed for the Inman family in 1928.  It is fascinating to me to consider two designers, working in very different eras and circumstances, the later probably knowing nothing of the earlier house, but dealing with some of the same inspirations that had created the earlier house, arriving at the same design solutions, if on a grander and more sophisticated scale, 125 years later.

Once again, the Dearborn house (Prints & Drawings Department, Boston Public Library, via Flickr)
'Swan House' in Atlanta, designed in 1928 by Philip Trammel Shutze

 Postscript:  The first comment below mentions the modernist influence.  To that end, here is a photo of the house William Welles Bosworth designed for himself in 1928 at Matinecock, Long Island, a sort of Vogue Regency modern take on Schinkel does ancient Rome.


And another Postscript:  Thanks to commenter Anonymous, of the Hudson River Anonymouses, for bringing Locust Lawn, one of the purest adaptations of Asher Benjamin's design, to the fore.  I remember driving past it years ago, and naturally nearing going off the road (My bumper sticker reads "I brake for unusual Federal houses").  

"Locust Lawn", the Josiah Hasbrouck House in Gardiner, New York, 1814.