High Lawn Estate

High.Lawn_side.garden Side Garden, 1910

This collection of drawings, photographs and papers documents the architectural history of the William B. Osgood Field family in Lenox, Massachusetts, and New York City from the period 1908 through the 1920s. The bulk of the collection focuses on High Lawn, a private house and working farm known today as High Lawn Farm, one of the first summer estates built by the firm of Delano and Aldrich. High Lawn was built as a summer residence for Lila Vanderbilt Sloane as a present from her father upon her marriage to William B. Osgood Field. While the farm had been in production since 1900, the house was constructed beginning in 1908 as a Georgian Revival house reflecting the French training of its architects. Delano & Aldrich also laid out the grounds, designed the Gate Lodge, and the interiors of the main house; the drawings for the property suggest that their involvement ended about 1912.

Two other architects were largely responsible for the construction of the farm buildings. During the years 1906-1912, the architect Alfred Hopkins designed a number of farm structures at the site. Known as the “dean of farm group architecture,” Hopkins had designed a number of estate farms, including that for Louis Comfort Tiffany on Long Island, and was the author of Modern Farm Buildings (1913, 1920 rev.). Hopkins was followed by a Lenox-born, New York architect, John C. Greenleaf, whose work at High Lawn spans nearly a decade. His works include the Garage and Carriage House (1912), the Milk Truck Garage (1912), the Main Barn and Water Tower (1916), the Playhouse and Studio (1916), and the Workshop (1920).

High.Lawn_rear.elevation.under.construction Rear elevation under construction, 1909

In 1935, the Field’s daughter, Lila, and her husband Colonel H. George Wilde purchased the farm from Mrs. Field’s estate. The Wilde family continues to run the dairy as High Lawn Farm and in 2007 donated the drawings and papers to the Avery Library.

In addition to the farm in Lenox, the collection also contains drawings for several buildings in New York City. There are alteration drawings by Stuart & Stuart (1903) and Hunt and Hunt (1911) for 645 Fifth Avenue, which was the Field family home in New York. 645 Fifth and its neighbor 647 Fifth Avenue were designed by Hunt and Hunt in 1902-5 for George W. Vanderbilt, Mrs. Field’s uncle, who lived across Fifth Avenue in the Vanderbilt Mansion built by R.M. Hunt. There are also drawings for a commercial building by John C. Greenleaf for 8 and 10 West 37th Street.

In addition to more than 450 drawings, the collection contains 334 photographs (mostly construction photos of High Lawn Farm), specifications, general project files, and project correspondence during the years1908-1914.  

In addition to the drawings for the house at High Lawn, the architects Delano and Aldrich are represented in the Drawings and Archives by a collection of more than 7,500 drawings and 3,000 photographs. Additionally, both Aldrich and Delano are represented by personal papers, correspondence, and scrapbooks.

High.Lawn_farm.buildings Farm buildings, 1915