Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Deerfield

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Institution Name: Manhattanville College
Original/Historic Place Name: Farmhouse and outbuildings
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
ca. 1895-1902farm group construction Burnett Edward Hoppin & Koen Olmsted, Frederick Law Mead
Designer: Edward Burnett; Hoppin & Koen; Frederick Law Olmsted; Mead
Type of Place: Building group
Style: Romanesque revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Function:
ca. 1900private residence (farm manager's house, barn, dairy, and shed)
ca. 2005private residence (faculty and staff housing)
 

Narrative:
The farmhouse, dairy, and stable/coach house, all still standing today, were each designed by a different architect. The farmhouse, built first, served as a residence for the manager and his family, with a business office and wing for farm workers to eat and relax. Also constructed from uncoursed rubble with rough stone voussoirs forming the window arches, the farmhouse had a roof accented by an eyelid dormer on the front portico and a cupola over the wing. Behind the farmhouse and across the road from the barn, Reid built a dairy based on planning by at least two renowned architectural firms.

Typical of this time, the gentlemen farmers frequently visited each other, exchanged ideas and livestock, and even swapped personnel in their mutual efforts to create model farms. Hamilton Twombly, who owned a country estate called "Florham" in Convent Station, NJ, shared ideas and personnel with Whitelaw Reid. Both Ophir Farm and Florham were designed by McKim, Mead & White and landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted. Therefore, when Reid decided to buy a dairy, he contacted Twombly's farm manager, Edward Burnett, who has been called the pre-eminent farm designer of the day. A Harvard graduate, Burnett also served as a U. S. Congressman.

When Reid approved Burnett's ideas, he sent it to the firm of Hoppins and Koen for architectural drawings. The company had designed many prominent country estates, including Edith Wharton's "The Mount" in Lennox, MA. When construction was completed, Reid was so pleased he wrote to Hoppin & Koen to compliment them on their work.
 

References:

Braisted, Gayl Maxwell. "The Gentleman Farmers of the Gilded Age." M. A. thesis, Manhattanville College, 1993.

Gold, Anne. Ophir Farm and Manhattanville College. Purchase, NY: Manhattanville College, 2005.

"Winter Life Out-doors at Ophir Farm." Town and Country (March 1902).

 

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