The Rockefeller Family Home: Kykuit by Mary Louise PiersonThe Rockefeller Family Home: Kykuit by Mary Louise Pierson

The Rockefeller Family Home: Kykuit

byMary Louise Pierson, Cynthia Altman, Ann Rockefeller Roberts

Hardcover | March 1, 1998

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Kykuit-the country home of John D. Rockefeller Sr., John D. Rockefeller Jr., Nelson A. Rockefeller, and their families-stands majestically atop a hill overlooking the Hudson River. Built between 1906 and 1913 by architects Delano and Aldrich, it has just recently been opened to the public. But visitors will never see the estate in as intimate a way as it is presented in this volume. To preserve the memory of what Kykuit was like when it was a private home, photographer Mary Louise Pierson, granddaughter of Nelson Rockefeller, spent years photographing the estate: the Big House-as family members call the main residence-and its interiors, designed by the renowned Ogden Codman; the outbuildings, including the Coach Barn, which now houses an impressive collection of horse-drawn carriages and an equally noteworthy collection of vintage cars, the orangerie, and the Playhouse, a Tudor-style mansion containing an indoor swimming pool, tennis court, fully equipped gym, and bowling alley; and the magnificent gardens, from the formal gardens designed by William Welles Bosworth to the golf course to the Japanese garden, and all the sculptures that three generations of Rockefellers installed on the grounds.

The text, by Ann Rockefeller Roberts, Governor Rockefeller's daughter, recounts the history of the magnificent estate, from its founding early in the century through its recent transfer to the National Trust, focusing on how each successive generation left its stamp on the decor, the gardens, and the painting and sculpture collections. Illustrated with dozens of historical photos, ranging from the construction of the house to snapshots of family members, the text includes never before published reminiscences of five generations of Rockefellers. Complete with a family tree, a map of the gardens, and visitor information, Kykuit: The Rockefeller Family Home offers a deeply personal look at the country residence of one of America's most distinguished families.
Photographer Mary Louise Pierson is the granddaughter of Nelson A. Rockefeller. A painter, she lives on a farm in Vermont with her husband and children.Author Ann Rockefeller Roberts is the daughter of Nelson A. Rockefeller and the mother of Mary Louise Pierson. A graduate of Wellesley College, she has a masters degree in landscape arc...
Title:The Rockefeller Family Home: KykuitFormat:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 9.88 × 9.88 × 0.91 inPublished:March 1, 1998Publisher:Abbeville Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0789202220

ISBN - 13:9780789202222

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Read from the Book

INTRODUCTIONBoth John D. Rockefeller (JDR) and John D. Rockefeller Jr. (Jr.) loved beautiful views and had an inherent sense of the land and its spirit, although they might never have expressed it in quite that way. The land they chose at Pocantico is a testament to this innate sensibility. Located on a wide sweep of the Hudson River known as the Tappan Zee, it was formed when ancient glaciers carved out a great rift and rounded the mountains into hills. These full, rolling hills stretch back from the river; morning mist drifts among them, storms bear down along the river with sudden speed and power, evenings can be still and sweet or brilliant with the riotous colors of the setting sun. Gazing at the uninterrupted vistas, one has a startling sense of how this land must have looked before the first European settlers arrived—miles of deciduous and evergreen forest, the river a ribbon of undulating silver cutting through it.The character of the land is felt in the many elements that comprise it: the rock ledges that form a massive crust underneath, barely hidden in spots, rising up through the earth in others; the mantle of earth over the rock, deep and rich in many places, shallow in others, but always full of loose stones (used by early settles to form miles of walls, and reused by JDR and Jr. for house foundations, garden walls, and terraces); the wide variety of deciduous trees, including oak, elm, maple, butternut, walnut, and tulip; evergreens, such as pine, hemlock, and spruce; and myriad other native flora—dogwood, laurel, azalea, wildflowers, mosses, grasses, shrubbery, vines. The wildlife of the area was also originally very rich and varied; now it consists of creatures that can coexist more easily with white-tailed deer with their large ears and bobbing tails, possums, raccoons, rabbits, mice, the occasional fox, hawks, owls, and a variety of songbirds, as well as the ubiquitous crow.On this natural matrix the built elements were laid out and a great, parklike estate was developed. The land became highly cultivated in every sense of the word, reflecting the character and spirit first of the father and son and then of succeeding generations.Each of the seasons etched in color, form, and texture all around Pocantico. In the early spring the melting snow reveals the browns and grays of the sleeping land, and the architectural forms of the gardens and buildings stand out starkly. Then a pale green haze of tender new shoots and leaves sweeps over the threes and manicured lawns. Before long spring bulbs, shrubbery, and flowering trees all burst into bloom in the gardens. In the summer it is a tapestry of leaf textures and shades of green, the gurgle of water in fountains, the dappled patterns of sunlight through leaves, the music of wind through the trees, the purring of lawn mowers over the greensward of the golf course. In the fall color manifests itself again in the riotous turning of the leaves, in swaths of chrysanthemums, and in the last roses in the gardens. Then winter sets in, stripping everything of its last hues, returning the earth to browns and grays, and finally cloaking everything in the white of snow or the silver of ice, glittering in the pale sun on statues, garden walls, and plants.The acquisition, development, and occupancy of Pocantico is intertwined with the lives of six generations of the Rockefeller family. It was intended to be—and always remained—a private home, the beloved country retreat of JDR and his wife, Laura Spelman Rockefeller, their children, and their children's children. The estate was developed between 1893, when JDR made the first purchase of land, and 1913, when the main house and its extensive gardens were largely completed. Since then there have been many more changes—additional land was acquired, other buildings were built, and each succeeding generation left its distinctive touch.

Table of Contents

Photographer's Note / Acknowledgments 6
Introduction 8
The Big House 52
The Outbuildings 94
The Gardens 136
Rockefeller Family Tree 188
Visitor's Guide / Bibliography 190
Index 191

From Our Editors

A warm, intimate portrait of the grand family estate of six generations of Rockefellers.Built between 1906 and 1913 by architects Delano and Aldrich on a hilltop overlooking the Hudson River, Kykuit -- the country home of John D. Rockefeller, St., John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Nelson Rockefeller, and their families -- has just recently been opened to the public. The guided tour comprises the gardens and two floors of the main house. The still-private sections of the estate, however, such as the vast Tudor-style playhouse and the Japanese teahouse, are not open to the public_ For the past 15 years Mary Louise Pierson, granddaughter of Nelson Rockefeller, has been photographing the main house, its Ogden Codman -- designed interiors, the magnificent gardens by William Welles Bosworth, and the numerous outbuildings.This evocative book features Pierson's photographs of both the public and the private areas, vintage photographs of the estate and its occupants, and reminiscences by six generations of Rockefeller family members. The text by Ann Rockefeller Roberts, Gove

Editorial Reviews

"[B]eautiful and fascinating . . . like having one's own personal, behind-the-ropes tour. . . . By sharing this incredible estate, this generous family has provided us with a sense of grand possibilities that might otherwise remain unimaginable." —Antiques and the Arts"Photographer Pierson, Roberts's daughter, has taken beautiful pictures, each one advocating how wealth can lead to the development of beauty." —Library JournalThis book . . . is a treat before or after your tour. . . . In fact, you will learn more from this book than any visit." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette