Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Not the Trees

Instead, The Elms, is the name of the last mansion toured during our Newport, RI, road trip. This grand mansion was once the summer home for a U.S. coal magnate and his wife. (This is the final long-ish post about some very over-the-top and quite ostentatious mansions.)
The Elms, Newport, RI, mansion of Sarah and Edward Julius Berwind
This post differs from two previous ones about summer Newport cottages (mansions)
The Breakers and Marble House (mansions) in several ways — This one wasn't built by a member of the Vanderbilt family. Celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt wasn't involved in its design. This house had fewer rooms (48 total) and it cost less to construct. Also, it doesn't have an ocean view like many other Newport mansions. Last, but not least, its owners remained happily married to one another until their deaths.

While these are certainly some major differences, The Elms is definitely a grand house in what was a time of a very opulent life style. It houses an outstanding collection of paintings, statuary and tapestries. The landscaping features formal gardens, terraces, pavilions and fountains. 

Edward and Sarah Berwind
The Elms was the summer residence of Sarah and Edward Julius Berwind, founder of the Berwind-White Coal Mining Company, which he headed from 1886 until 1930. Berwind was hailed as one of the 58 men who rule America, making him one of Newport's most important summer residents. 

Berwind's company was the largest owner of coal properties in the country and traded prominently throughout the U.S. and Europe. He was a member of an influential circle of industrialists, sharing newspaper mentions with the likes of J.P. Morgan. 

Unlike the Vanderbilts, Astors and others, Berwind was new money (his parents were middle-class German immigrants). Sarah Berwind grew up in Italy; her father was the American counsel to Livorno, Italy. She spoke several languages and was a patron of art and music.

The Berwinds began summering in Newport in the 1880s and in 1888 paid $50,000 for an Italianate-style house, The Elms, on Bellevue Avenue, the summer home of George W. Merritt.  Starting in 1890, Berwind spent up to $100,000 buying land and soon his summer estate was 14-acres. By 1898, the house was too small for grand parties they were hosting, so they had it torn down to build a new mansion in its place, keeping the original name. (The original American elms on the grounds succumbed to Dutch elm disease.)

Horace Trumbauer
Berwind commissioned Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to create a French-inspired cottage better fitting his status and very French. Like Richard Morris Hunt, who designed the Vanderbilt mansions, Trumbauer was a prominent American architect of the Gilded Age, known for designing residential manors for the wealthy. In keeping with the request, Trumbauer modeled it after the 18th-century French Château d'Asnières outside Paris, France. While there are some similarities, it is not a replication; there are significant architectural differences as the photo shows. (The château was well-known to the Berwinds who had considered buying it in 1898. Instead they purchased its sculptures and statues, and others from the historic Château de Menars that Trumbauer integrated into the garden at Newport.)

Trumbauer also had Jules Allard & Sons of Paris design and furnish the interior. (The same French firm responsible for furnishing the Vanderbilt mansions.) The Elms also housed 18th century French and Venetian paintings, Renaissance ceramics and Oriental jades that the Berwinds had amassed in their travels.

Built of white limestone, The Elms was constructed from 1899 to 1901 with 50 rooms. It took two years to finish and cost about 1.4 million dollars, now 49.9 million dollars. Like most Newport Gilded Age houses, it house was built with non-combustible materials and around a structural steel frame. The interior partitions, plaster over terra cotta blocks, sit on reinforced concrete floor slabs; the exterior walls are made of brick masonry and clad with limestone.
Back views of The Elms: top (1916) and bottom (2023)
Over the next 20 years, Sarah Berwind would spend the summers in Newport, the season being from the July 4 to the end of August. Berwind visited on weekends as his coal-mining interests kept him in New York during the week. Although the Berwinds had no children, their nephews and nieces would visit regularly.

Thanks to Berwind's interest in technology, The Elms was a very sophisticated house of the time. It was one of the first houses in the U.S. to be wired for electricity with no backup system, it also included one of the first electrical ice makers. When The Elms was done, the Berwinds held a huge party. It wasn’t unusual for their summer entertainment bill to top $300,000.

Nearly all Newport mansion owners hosted grand parties to showcase their new digs, but The Elms opening was very spectacular. There was 400 guests, roses adorned every corner of the mansion's interior and vines reached to the second floor, lights were spread throughout the estate, two orchestras provided music in the ballroom and the Newport Band played in the grounds. But, the evening's highlight was monkeys brought in to play in the palm trees. Many were found swinging in trees around Newport days later. Two orchestras provided music in the ballroom and the Newport Band played in the grounds. 
Entrance Foyer at The Elms
Entered via large mahogany doors, the grand Entrance Foyer with Ionic columns made of Italian breccia marble is where the first of the day's more than 1,000 visitors enter to get a first look at the mansion. This entrance hall forms one large gallery that runs along the entire length of the house, north to south. The marble double staircase with wrought iron bannister curves up 41-feet to the second floor bedrooms. 

On the main floor, the principal axis leads from the eastern entrance porch, into an entrance hall with a grand staircase and a marble floor, then into the ballroom, and then out to the garden beyond. The wing to the South contains a dining room, breakfast room, and serving pantry (the kitchens were in the basement), while the wing to the North contains a drawing room, library, and conservatory. 
The Elms Conservatory
The Conservatory was inspired by orangeries (greenhouses) popular in 18th century France, but the Berwinds filled it with palms and exotic plants. The conservatory is decorated with four marble statues representing the seasons of the year. The fountain continued the theme of bringing the garden inside. The room's tall windows provide natural light.
The Ballroom hosted the mansion's 1901 grand house party
The Ballroom done in the Louis XV style was decked out with rose trees, palms, orchids and lotus flowers for The Elms housewarming party in August 1901. The ballroom is has carved wood painted in cream and white and is considered to be one of the finest in Newport. A single elaborate crystal chandelier helps anchor the space in this room along with a 1900 Steinway gold-leaf grand piano. The portrait of Elizabeth Drexel Lehr, a leader of Newport society, was painted in 1905 by Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. Her house once was across the street from The Elms. 

While nearly all Newport mansion owners hosted grand parties to showcase their new digs, The Elms opening was over-the-top with 400 guests. Roses adorned the mansion's interior and vines reached to the second floor, lights were spread throughout the estate, two orchestras provided music in the ballroom and the Newport Band played in the grounds. The evenings highlight was monkeys brought in to play in the palm trees. Days after, many were found swinging in trees around Newport. 
The Dining Room is full of Venetian murals
The Dining Room of carved walnut and oak with Venetian murals is lit by four chandeliers and the antique fireplace's mantel of green marble, onyx and bronze nearly reaches the ceiling. Breaking with the French design of other rooms, this room displays the largest collection of 18th-century Venetian murals in America. Jules Allard designed the room around the cycle of paintings depicting Roman generals. The oak paneling is reflected in the ceiling (not captured), which is painted to look like oak. The ornate doors are of Santo Domingo mahogany adding to the room's richness.
Breakfast Room features black and gold Chinese lacquer panels
The Breakfast Room features black and gold Chinese lacquer panels and is an example of Chinoiserie, a western interpretation of Chinese decoration.Three of the wall panels in this room are 18th century Chinese; one is a 20th century copy created by decorator Allard. The room is one of the few surviving lacquer rooms in the world and it would have been destroyed when The Elms was threatened with demolition in the 1960s (more on that later).
Butler's Pantry and knife cleaner
The Butler's Pantry was the final stop for meals before being plated, warmed and delivered to the dining or breakfast rooms. The round wooden object is a knife cleaner. Before stainless steel, knives needed to be polished. Knives were inserted into one of the slots and the hand crank was turned as brushes scrubbed off any rust.

The second floor houses bedrooms for family and guests as well as a private sitting room. The third floor contains bedrooms for the indoor servants.
Bedroom & bath of Sarah Berwind
Sarah Berwind's Bedroom also served as her office since as lady of the house, she was responsible for managing the estate and its social functions. She organized both the lavish entertainments and the inner workings of The Elms and its household staff of 42. This room was featured on HBO's The Gilded Age series. The bathroom was modern white tile like all the other bathrooms, the high point of luxury in that time. White tile was a relatively new hygienic material, popular for its easy upkeep.
Bedroom & bath of Edward Berwind
Edward Berwind's Bedroom is smaller than his wife's. Gentlemen of Newport's summer colony worked primarily in New York during the week, traveling to Newport on weekends to rejoin their families. They required less change of clothing and preparations. In his bathroom, the sink is white onyx. A caned chair placed over the commode would have been moveable.
Sitting room used by family and guests
The Sitting Room was a private gathering place for the Berwinds and their guests. Tables in this room held photos of the couple's four nieces who often summered at The Elms with their aunt and uncle. 
Main kitchen
The Main Kitchen was heated by wood and coal and would have been operational non-stop during a party. A chef brought in from France was the star of kitchen, hired to create lavish meals served during Gilded Age society dinners hosted by the Berwinds.

The Garden Showcase
The 14-acres of French and Italian landscaped gardens of The Elms are among the most spectacular in Newport, RI. Architect Trumbauer was helped in their design by Ernest William Bowditch known for his work at The Breakers (another Vanderbilt connection)
Vintage postcard showing The Elms garden
The Elms garden as it looked during our visit
The elaborate gardens were developed between 1907 and 1914 and include terraces displaying marble and bronze sculpture, a sunken garden, numerous split level terraces, gravel walkways, balustrades, boxwood hedges, sweeping lawns, sculptured fountains, statues, busts and two octagonal gazebos with domed roofs serving as teahouses. These gardens were recently restored.
1910 garage replaced carriage house & stables
After the Berwinds replaced coaches with automobiles, the original carriage house and stables were replaced in 1910 by an enormous two story garage. It was clad in limestone, 125-foot long by 70-foot deep and one of the largest private garages in America, with an indoor track, and two gas tanks. (The Berwind's head coachman became the chauffeur, but couldn't learn to back out of the garage, so an automobile turntable was installed.)

After his wife died in 1922, Berwind invited his sister, Julia, to become the hostess of The Elms. The Berwinds were very close to Julia. Berwind worked at his office until age 85 and died in August 1936, aged 88. He willed the house and its contents to Julia. 

While high society members tended to reduce extravagant lifestyles due to the depression and WW II, Julia maintained a full staff of 40 servants; her social season remained at six weeks. She was noted for driving herself, unusual for women generally and for women of her class especially. She was also known to invite local children to the estate for cookies and milk.

When Julia died in 1961, aged 96, the house and most of its contents were sold at public auction. Childless, like the Berwinds, she willed the estate to a nephew, Charles Dunlap, who couldn't maintain it with little attachment to the mansion. An auction was held and furnishings were sold with several of the more valuable paintings going to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
Auction program for The Elms

After the contents of the estate were auctioned off, it almost fell victim to the wrecking ball as a syndicate of New York developers wanted to demolish it. But that plan went awry as did the money when the stock market tumbled in 1962. This enabled the Preservation Society of Newport County to buy The Elms for $116,000 with help from a few others. Within weeks, the house was ready for a gala ball attended by 800 people celebrating its survival. 

Almost all of the original art hangs in the house and much of the furniture has returned. It took five years, but the entire home was rewired, allowing the Society to finally install hardwired fire and burglar alarms. 

Since it was opened as a house museum in 1962, The Elms has remained one of Newport's most popular attractions. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1996.

This post ends our visits to three Newport, RI, mansions — The Breakers, Marble House and The Elms. All three were spectacular in terms of money spent and furnishings. Marble House was as beautiful as The Breakers was massive; but, The Elms was my favorite. Its interiors and owners' lifestyle were just as opulent and extravagant as the others, but the fact that it was saved from possible demolition made it a bit more special.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Friday Funnies

Dogs often make the best photo subjects. Unlike humans, they are not as self conscious about having their photo snapped and hardly aware of the photographer.

Here's a few canine captures from my photo files. 
This first pooch was spotted in a nearby park last fall wearing some foolish garb. Certainly, this clothing choice was not the dog's, but its human owner, which made me wonder, why?
This doggie in the (car) window was patiently awaiting the return of his owner(s) who had stopped at the same place we did for an ice cream treat. We left before seeing if they returned with a doggie treat. He or she was the sweetest-looking canine and not a bark was heard.
A dog's life wasn't too hard for this canine who seemed to be enjoying an open air drive with his owner on a warm afternoon. Who wouldn't like riding around in a convertible?

One of the most familiar dog songs, if not the most popular, was the 1953 hit (How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window is a novelty song written by Bob Merrill (who also co-wrote If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake). The best-known version of the song was the original done Patti Page in December 1952 and released in January 1953 on Mercury Records. It was No. 1 on the Billboard charts staying there for 8 weeks and selling over 2 million copies and the third best-selling record that year. Mercury Records was besieged with requests for free puppies, and the American Kennel Club's annual registrations saw an increase. 

In 2009, Page recorded a new version titled Do You See That Doggie in the Shelter to stress adoption of homeless animals from shelters. The Humane Society of the United States was given exclusive rights to the song. Upon Page's 2013 death, the Society wrote in its online eulogy, We remember her fondly for her compassion for animals.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
It's a rainy 🌧 one in Nashua, NH, today

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Marvelous in Marble

Marble House on Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI, another Vanderbilt "summer" cottage
It's quite a marvel with its mostly marble construction — about 500,000 cubic feet. Built from 1888 to 1892 by William Kissam Vanderbilt, who wanted to surprise his wife, Alva, with a getaway home for her
 39th birthday. 

But then, money was no object for any of the Vanderbilts. This summer cottage on Bellevue Avenue cost $11 million dollars to build, the equivalent of $343 million now with $7 million of the budget set aside for so much marble. 

W. K. Vanderbilt
William was the younger brother of Cornelius Vanderbilt who later built his own famous mansion, The Breakers, ironically designed by the same architect Richard Morris Hunt, which was larger
 (70 rooms) and built in half the time, two years (1893-1895) vs. four years for Marble House. Here's an amazing fact, the construction cost of $7 million for The Breakers was the cost of the marble alone used for this mansion. Yes, the rich and famous did spend money (and still do).

Keeping up with the Vanderbilts meant building luxurious summer cottages with Atlantic Ocean views in Newport, RI, with Atlantic Ocean views and only staying there for 6-8 weeks. The Newport mansions are always decorated at the holiday season, but in reality, the original families were never there during Christmas.

Alva Vanderbilt
Background of Marble House
In 1888, William K. Vanderbilt planned to build a home for Alva. After learning about it, she became actively involved. Born in Mobile, AL, Alva was raised and educated in France and very much a social climber of her day. She envisioned Marble House as her temple to the arts in America and was obsessed with keeping construction secret to unveil the residence at a grand party. A large fence was built blocking the view from the road and non-English speaking Chinese workman were hired to keep from spilling the beans. This secrecy is possibly the reason there are no construction photos of marble House.

On completion, the 50-room Beaux Arts mansion required a staff of 36 servants including butlers, maids, coachmen and footmen. It covered four floors — kitchen and service areas in the basement, reception rooms on the ground floor, bedrooms on the second floor, servant quarters on the top level.

When time came for the mansion's unveiling and party, Alva had guests arrive after dark. At a signal, servants opened the gates and the entire house was illuminated. It was the first viewing of a mansion with solid marble columns. Marble House is considered a social and architectural landmark. It set the pace for Newport's transformation from a quiet summer colony of wooden houses to a legendary resort of way over-the-top opulent Gilded Age mansions. 

Some of Its Interiors
Entry to Marble House is through two Baroque style French doors each weighing 1-1/2 tons and embellished by the monogram WV set in an oval medallion. (No gate photos here as we entered the mansion grounds from the parking lot, not directly from Bellevue Avenue.) 
Grand stairway leading to mezzanine
Once inside the grand entry, marble stairs lead upwards. Unlike at The Breakers, there was no carpeting on the stairs, possibly to better show off the marble details. Slippery stairs?
Dining Room with 34-foot table
The walls in the Dining Room are made of rose-colored marble imported from Algeria. The chairs are made of bronze and covered in gold with silk cut upholstery; side chairs weigh about 75 pounds, the armchairs about 100. The ceiling has an elaborate mural and also shows off Alva's collection of French Court portraits. The room is dominated by a 34-foot long dining room. The fireplace is a replica of one in Versailles, France.
Library in Marble House
The Library was used as a morning room and reading room. Books here include works on architecture, landscape design, furniture and European history. These are original to the Vanderbilt collection. Allard and Sons of Paris created the carved walnut bookcases and furnishings and designed the interior spaces. This firm would later work at The Breakers.
Gothic Room with stained glass windows, large fireplace
The Gothic Room was one of the most impressive rooms and reflects the flamboyant Gothic style popular in France from the 1350s to the 1600s. It boasts a large floor to ceiling stone fireplace with relief work showing spires that lead to an elaborate ribbed ceiling. The room also was designed by Jules Allard and Sons. Stained glass windows, inspired by pieces from the Middle Ages, flood the room with colors on a bright day. This room was designed to display Alva's collection of Medieval and Renaissance decorative objects. (This room is where Charles Spencer Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, proposed to the Vanderbilt's daughter, Consuelo. The marriage was arranged by Alva, so that her daughter could have a title.)
Grand Salon also known as the Gold Room
The Grand Salon (Gold Room) served as a formal salon and ballroom. It was designed in the Louis IV style and featured green silk cut upholstery. Decorative elements, like images of Louis XIV as the sun king, were copied from the French royal Palace of Versailles and the Louvre. Panels on the wall depict images from classical Roman and Greek mythology. The panels are framed with the Vanderbilt family symbol of an acorn and oak leaf which stand for strength and longevity.This symbol is repeated throughout the house.
Future Duke & Duchess of Marlborough:
Charles Spencer Churchill & Consuelo Vanderbilt
The Vanderbilts had three children: oldest daughter Consuelo became the ninth Duchess of Marlborough. William Jr became a prominent figure in the sport of auto racing in America. Harold was a yachtsman who successfully defended the America's Cup three times.
Bedroom of Consuelo Vanderbilt
Consuelo Vanderbilt's bedroom was designed by her mother Alva for her teenaged daughter. Consuelo later wrote about it: was austere...My mother had chosen every piece of furniture and had placed every ornament according to her taste, and had forbidden the intrusion of my personal possessions.
Bedroom of Alva Vanderbilt
Alva Vanderbilt's bedroom had floral motifs and busy patterns in the Louis XIV style with lilac silk wall hangings. A ceiling painting shows Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom and war, was done by a Venetian artist.
Bedroom of William K. Vanderbilt
William Vanderbilt's bedroom is decorated in the French Neoclassical style with green-gold silk wall coverings and Louis XVI style furniture. Vanderbilt was among the most educated and refined gentlemen of his era and spoke fluent French. After he and Alva divorced, he remarried and moved to France in 1903 with his second wife.
Only guest room in Marble House
The Guest Room was where Charles Spencer Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough stayed. The silk wall fabric and walnut furniture are in the Louis XV style. Surprisingly, this is the only guest bedroom in Marble House. That's because most visitors already had their own palatial houses to return home to after a visit.
Kitchen area at Marble House
The Kitchen was central to the functioning of Marble House and produced luncheons, picnics, tea dances and dinner parties as well as meals for the family and household staff. A French chef and six helpers supervised all activities.There were four ovens and a broiler; the coal-fired stove was made in New York. The kitchen was also seen in The Gilded Age show.

Money Doesn't Buy Happiness
Oliver Belmont
Lots of money and a grand house obviously didn't guarantee marital bliss for this Vanderbilt couple. Three years after Marble House was done, William and Alva divorced in 1895 amid infidelity charges (his). Within a year, Alva remarried one of her ex-husband's close friends, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, and made a short move to Belcourt Castle, Perry's home also on Bellevue Avenue. If his name seems familar, here's why: His maternal great-uncle and namesake was Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, victor of the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. The oldest race in the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, is named for his father, August, who had a few $$$. 

Alva owned Marble House outright, after all it was her birthday present. She returned to host her daughter's coming out party in the grand ballroom (of course). Within a year, Consuelo was famously and, by all accounts, unhappily married off to the Duke of Marlborough. 

Marble House became the grandest and most costly launderette. That's because Alva was known to change outfits up to six times daily and used Marble House for clothes storage. Can you imagine? Staff was kept busy full-time washing clothes as she preferred her own laundry staff to those at Belcourt. Marble House remained  closed until Oliver Belmont's sudden death in 1908 from appendicitis at age 58 when Alva returned there.

Once back home, she actively spearheaded the women's suffrage movement and hosted fundraisers. To raise money for her causes, she opened Marble House to the public. Admission was $1 to visit the grounds and $5 to the view the interior (equal today to $160). The price point was done to make it viewings unaffordable to the general public (commoners like us)
Tea House on the Marble House grounds
In 1913, Alva commissioned the sons of the original architect of Marble House, Richard Morris Hunt, to build a Chinese Tea House on the cliffs behind the mansion. Inspired by 12th century Sung Dynasty era temples, the octagonal windows and surrounding wooden terrace overlooked the ocean. The teahouse was the site of fundraisers and rallies for women’s suffrage movement in America and Britain.

Sold at a Bargain to a Prince
In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression and a year before her death, Alva sold Marble House for a token $1 and the contents for $99,999, to Frederick Henry Prince. During their summer occupancies, the Prince family resided in smaller quarters in the building's third floor (formerly servant housing) careful to leave the vast majority of the interior intact.

When the senior Prince died, Frederick Jr inherited Marble House and opened it to the public for the first time. The Preservation Society of Newport County hosted the Tiffany Ball as a fundraiser for historic preservation. 

When Frederick Jr died, Harold Vanderbilt, son of Alva and William, bought the mansion. He donated the house to the Preservation Society, and the Frederick H. Prince Trust donated virtually all of the original furniture for the house.

Back view of Marble House
Marble House was opened to the public and is run as a museum by the Preservation Society of Newport. It
 was added to the National Register of Historic Places in September 1971 and designated a National Historic Landmark in February 2006. The Bellevue Avenue Historic District  includes Marble House and other historic mansions, including Belcourt, and was added to the Register in December 1972 and designated as a National Historic Landmark District in May 1976.

It's one of the more popular Newport tourist destinations and is used for guided and non-guided tours, plus various special events, parties, and weddings. It's served as the backdrop for several films including The Great Gatsby (1974) and as the backdrop for HBO's The Gilded Age.

This book was on sale in the mansion's gift store, however, I did not buy a copy. Instead, I downloaded an audio version from the NH state library system. Author Therese Anne Fowler paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted against poverty, social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, in this story of a remarkable woman, Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, with all of her strong points and weaknesses. 

Ignored by New York’s old-money circles (especially Mrs Astor) and determined to win respect, Alva designed and built nine mansions, hosted grand balls, arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. Before the days of women's liberation, she defied convention for women of her time, asserted power within her marriage and became a leader in the women's suffrage movement. Alva's story is proof that history is made by those who know the rules and how to break them. The book was not only very informative, the narration was excellent.

Touring these mansions, listening to this book and watching various online videos about how the ultra rich Vanderbilts lived and spent their money was an eye-opener. It's often been said that money doesn't buy happiness — however, it can ease sadness. As Irish comedian Terence Alan (Spike) Milligan famously said: Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery. Milligan had the last laugh after his “I told you I was ill” epitaph was voted the nation's favorite farewell.

There's one more mansion to post about from our Newport, RI, getaway. While it's also on Bellevue Avenue, it was not built by a Vanderbilt and, unlike The Breakers and Marble House, designed by a different architect. It was completed in 1901 for a coal baron, modeled after an 18th century French château, and is relatively smaller with 48 rooms.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Anniversary Adventures

Celebration ice cream in Cape Cod
As you may have noticed we have them quite often. So when people ask what us what are you doing special for your anniversary? Our reply is that every day is a celebration — why not?

Today is our 24th wedding anniversary. 

We're celebrating with dinner at home including a glass (or two) of wine. As has become our tradition when traveling, we celebrated with ice cream on this past weekend's getaway to Cape Cod, near the same area visited in July to celebrate Grenville's 🎂.

Rather than a sightseeing trip, this excursion was a ham radio event that Grenville and his friend, Randall, participated in called Lighthouses on the Air. This annual event was held last Saturday and Sunday (August 19-20). It main goal is to establish ham radio contact with other operators especially those operating from other lighthouse sites and also to promote awareness of ham radio which would remain operational in emergency situations.
Grenville and his equipment setup
Grenville and Randall spent most of Saturday at the Nauset Light. The basic format is that ham radio operators will set up either in or near a lighthouse and operate part of the whole weekend. Visitors can watch the operators as they make contacts and learn more about ham radio while they come to see the lighthouse, which unfortunately wasn't open for public tours on Saturday. 

Nauset Light is quite possibly the most well-known and photographed lighthouse on Cape Cod and is located within the boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore. 
The Nauset Light is the logo for Cape Cod Chips and on MA license plates
Even if you never visit this lighthouse, you may have seen it in store snack aisles. That's because it was used as the logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips. The popular kettle chip company is headquartered in Hyannis, MA, and was started there in July 1980 by two small business owners. It also appears on a "Cape Cod & Islands" special license plate introduced in 1996. 

Nauset Light is a restored lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore near Eastham, MA, erected in 1923 using a 1877 tower that was moved here from the Chatham Light. The tower is a cast-iron plate shell lined with brick and stands 48 feet high. Fully automated, the beacon is a private aid to navigation. The tower is located adjacent to Nauset Light Beach.
The tower that eventually became Nauset Light was constructed in 1877 as one of two towers in Chatham. They were known as the Twin Lights and the Chatham one remains there today. The color of Nauset Light was originally all white, however, in the 1940s, the top section of the tower was painted red, as a daytime indicator and creating the iconic appearance seen today. It's particularly striking when shot against a clear blue sky.

This lighthouse was moved to Eastham in 1923 to replace the Three Sisters of Nauset, three small wood lighthouses that had been decommissioned. 
Vintage postcard showing the Three Sisters Lighthouses
A brief history of these lighthouses: in 1836, Eastham residents petitioned the Boston Marine Society to recommend to the U.S. Congress the construction of the Nauset Lights, because of many shipwrecks occurring off shore. The Congress granted funds to build suitable lighthouses to provide a light halfway along the eastern coast of Cape Cod and three 15-foot high masonry towers were built, in a straight line along the crest of the cliffs, painted white with black lantern decks. 
The relocated Three Sisters Lighthouses
They were nicknamed The Three Sisters as from sea they looked like women in white dresses with black hats. For some 55 years, these lights helped avoid shipwrecks. As years passed, the lights were getting too close to the cliff’s edge. Moving them intact was not possible and they were replaced. Three new and slightly larger wooden lighthouses, shaped to resemble the prototypes were raised 30 feet west of the original sites bearing identical markings and using the lenses from the originals. They were reunited in 1989 and are on Cable Road in Eastham, MA.
Steps ascending to the lighthouse and descending view
The Nauset Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 as Nauset Beach Light. By the early 1990s, coastal erosion caused the light to be less than 50 feet from the edge of the 70-foot cliff on which it stood. In 1993, the Coast Guard proposed decommissioning the light. The non-profit Nauset Light Preservation Society (NLPS) was formed and in 1995, it leased the lighthouse from the Coast Guard. 
View from inside

The Society arranged for both the tower and a nearby brick oil house to be relocated to a location 336 feet west of its original position in November 1996. By that time, it was perilously close to the cliff's edge, about 37 feet. 

The light was lit again in May 1997. The Coast Guard then transferred lighthouse ownership to the National Park Service. In May 2004, the NLPS signed a partnership agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) of  the Cape Cod National Seashore. 

The NPS operates the light as a private aid to navigation. The NLPS covers expenses related to the site through memberships and donations. Tours of the tower are available in summer from the NLPS which operates and maintains and the site. Myself and the wife of Grenville's radio buddy were treated to a private inside tour by one of its members.
Great together - Chatham Band Concert & Lobstah Roll
Friday was both a delicious and entertaining day as we enjoyed two quintessential New England traditions — our first lobstah 🦞 roll of the summer and an outdoor band concert. 

The 8 pm concert was in Kate Gould Park on Main Street in Chatham, MA, performed by the 37-member Chatham Band. These free concerts have been held here since the late 1940s. While it is said that it never rains on a Summer Friday night concert, it can be cancelled due to bad weather. The weather looked iffy after some torrential downpours Friday, but by late afternoon skies had cleared and the concert went on. It was a wonderful event that harkened back to summer concerts of days gone by, Nice to see that this tradition continues in Chatham.

Speaking of traditions, long-time NJ friends sent us this card. We immediately smiled on seeing it, not only for the front penguins illustration and the good wishes it contained, but we'd seen it before. They've unknowingly sent this same card for the past 3 years knowing that we liked penguins. The first one received in 2021 was framed and hangs in our bedroom. When the second one came in 2022, it produced a laugh. When this same card arrived in 2023 we shared the coincidence with them. No, they didn't stockpile this card. Amazingly, it was bought separately each year.

This post detailed how we spent our pre-anniversary celebration. But, we're not done since in a couple of weeks comes a really big getaway; we're going to Amalfi, Italy. It's an overdue anniversary replacement trip for the planned Rocky Mountaineer railway trip that was canceled 3 years ago due to you-know-what. Unfortunately, due to the difficulty in obtaining a refund from RM, we've decided to not consider a future trip with that company.

Thanks to everyone for the Anniversary well wishes 💐.  All were appreciated.