24.3.13

ANNALS OF RESEARCH: MAKING EVIDENCE LINE UP

As one sifts through material in search of interesting houses for the book, looking for interesting houses  that will interest and delight the reader, one is distracted by many other bits along the way.

For example, I've had this illustration, from American Architect & Building News, on file for years,  Designed by James Brown Lord for one Mrs. S.K. Henning. Not much evidence that it was ever built, but curious, I persevered.  Even in the age of Google, one has trouble finding much about Mrs. Henning.  Her first name was Sarah, neither husband nor source of fortune are mentioned, and her social life seems to have been led mostly  Tuxedo Park-Bar Harbor over a brief few years before and after 1900.  


I pursued a few leads.  I found Mrs. Henning in the Bar Harbor cottage directory as a guest at one of the hotels in 1893.  Then I found this house, built for James Henning in 1895 in Tuxedo Park, James Brown Lord, architect.  Not the same design, but certainly similar.  

At that point, one assumed that perhaps Mrs. Henning was married to James Henning, and that they decided to build in Tuxedo instead?  At any rate, nowhere in available collections did any larger amount of material appear to exist that would fast-track the Henning cottage into the book, and I moved on.

Since then, the old Bar Harbor newspapers have become available digitally, and a few weeks ago, in pursuit of other information, I came across a mention in the Bar Harbor Record of June 1894 which announced that Mrs. J.H. Henning of Louisville, Kentucky and her two children were guests at the St. Sauveur Hotel while their new cottage on Cleftstone Road was being completed.  Hmmm.  But where on Cleftstone Road, and was it the house shown in American Architect?  This of course, is where your completely undisciplined Uncle Dilettante strays off the path he's supposed to be following, and true to form, I wandered off to find more.  A quick search turned up an article about Mrs. Henning's new cottage, describing a house nothing like the one designed by James Brown Lord, which obviously hadn't been built.

A few days later, again while not looking, I ambled across a longer article about the new Henning Cottage, whose architect was Sidney Stratton (the actual subject of that particular search), who shared office space and occasionally worked with, McKim, Mead & White, and designed a house that will be in the book.


The article was accompanied by a crude wood engraving showing the new house, called 'Air Castle', into which Mrs. Henning and children moved on August 01, 1894.  A further search finds the family in residence for the 1895 season, and then they disappear from the face of Bar Harbor, consistent with the 1896 completeion date of the house in Tuxedo Park, completed in 1896.  One has no idea why they departed Bar Harbor so quickly, after having tried it out for a couple of seasons then having built a large cottage only to sell it two years later but there you have it.  On the 1896 Bar Harbor map, the cottage appears, renamed 'Hillhurst' and owned by one Helen Seely (for those of you who protest that the shape pictured is not consistent with the house pictured, let me assure you that on the more accurately delineated 1904 map, it does appear correctly).


And there this post would end, except that a few weeks later, I was flipping through an old Bar Harbor guildebook, with pictures of cottages, when what should appear but the engraving below:


The problem?  In the guidebook, the picture was captioned as 'Cottage at Bar Harbor, designed by Andrews Jaques and Rantoul".  

I'm resisting further research.  I have a book to complete.

P.S., 
Speaking of Tuxedo Park, after finishing research at the wonderful Walsh History Center at Camden Public Library, I wandered around looking at buildings (I still haven't put the final nail in my Camden selections. (Sssh, don't tell the publisher), and while wandering around town, I spotted this new little shingle style cottage, which reminded me of something...(and yes, that picture was taken yesterday March 23, the 3rd day of Spring, or as we call it up here, 'February II, the Nightmare Continues')


But enough about the weather---certainly we've had enough---the reason that the house looked so familiar is that it was clearly inspired by one of the original houses in Tuxedo Park, Bruce Price's Travis Van Buren cottage, below.


14 comments:

Blue said...

Dilettante, I thought of you this morning as I awoke to a cold house – ridiculous, really, thinking that 69º is cold when I grew up in a house that had but one coal-fire in the whole house, and there you are (and smilla4blogs also) still blanketed in snow. I hope spring arrives soon!

Oh, excellent article, by the way. Sorry, I didn't mean that to sound like a second thought and if it comes across that way, I apologize.

Anonymous said...

Cannot wait for the book!

Anonymous said...

You want to talk to John Foreman who writes the blog "Big Old Houses" as you prob know, he lived in Tuxedo Park at one point and may know something about James Henning. Also Wasn't there a "Panic" in the stock market in 1890? If I recall my history, perhaps he suffered a financial set back, finally, he may have died. Just some guesses.

Anonymous said...

Panic of 1893:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1893

Anonymous said...

There's nothing like a genealogical search for getting to know a clan. Once I found the couple's marriage license, I had the maiden name of Sallie K. Buck. A census showed 23 year old Sarah Buck with a small child name of John Buck, together living in the household of John Cowan, Louisville. Next we have the marriage license uniting Sallie K. Buck and James W. Henning. Later when they start housekeeping, we see one of the Cowan sisters living under the Henning roof, along w/ Sallie's three children by Henning, and her previously-born son named John Buck [whose father is listed in a later census as Mr. Henning -- we don't know if that's adoptive father or blood father, Sallie being 12 years younger than JW]. A census will give occupation, so once I saw "real estate" listed for JW Henning, I had a solid search term, resulting in this: "J. W. Henning, one of the wealthiest owners of real estate in
Louisville..." so now we may [MAYyyy] have a link to real estate speculation, hence what may appear to be short-term flipping in Bar Harbor, Tuxedo Park, Louisville and elsewhere. I forgot to look for JW's death cert, should be easy to find...tomorrow....

-Flo

The Devoted Classicist said...

Thanks especially for the last two houses, so 'modern' for their time with the shingled skin stretched so taut.

Anonymous said...

Very chewy article, going to the single mindedness of Sallie/Sally/Sarah. In the absence of a date on this article, I'm assuming the missing mother of the bride is our Sally/Sarah. If so, the bride was the only daughter of the M/M Henning, not "the only child." Here we have the wedding invitations sent out under the name of the father only, the Pope sends blessings yet Sally stayed at home in Louisville.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30A12F7395A12738DDDAB0994D9415B898CF1D3

-F

penelopebianchi said...

How cool is the description : "chewy article!!"

People who get that; "get it"!

In the late sixties early seventies; (exactly, September 1969 to May 1970; I lived in NY city! My wonderful "in-laws" lived on Sutton Place South in the "city"; and had a wonderful house carved out of a "stable" in Tuxedo Park!

Sheesh! What a wonderful education for me!

this incredibly lovely "development"! (how funny is that for me!) It was a "gated development" many years before all those hideous ones jn my state!

LOVELY!!

The Down East Dilettante said...

Great stuff Flo!

Following you down the trail, I found this genuinely astonishing bit, right out of a dime novel:

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F60A11FE385512738DDDAC0994D9415B868CF1D3

penelopebianchi said...

When can I order the book??!!!


Anonymous said...

"this genuinely astonishing bit"

Oooo, documentation that Henning suffered "a business failure...about a week ago" complete with a date, November 15, 1909 - another milestone in the chronology.

For census [the google of their day] lovers like myself, this link:

https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCZ9-WZ5

-F

The Down East Dilettante said...

Penelope, if I continue to stay on track, the book will be out in late Spring 2014.

Flo, there was also a business failure in 1906. But the idea that he won back his fortune by betting on a horse that he'd just had to sell after a business failure---well I can see it as a silent movie, starring Lillian Gish.

Anonymous said...

"the idea that he won back his fortune by betting on a horse that he'd just had to sell after a business failure---well I can see it as a silent movie, starring Lillian Gish."

I brushed that horse business aside when I saw that solid date [I am a date ho!] but yessiree it's a gem of a plotline, as is the business of his sending out wedding invitations under HIS name alone while Lillian Gish stays home in KY, do you suspect it was the notion of [GASP] Catholics coming into the family? the fiercest outrage to this day seems to smoulder over this religion or that.

Sorry to interrupt your writing!

-F

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I'm in love with that last house!