Here’s the Newport Tower in Touro Park, Newport, Rhode Island. The remains of a windmill built of stone in the 1600s, it’s sometimes claimed to have been built by Vikings (it wasn’t) or other alleged early visitors to North America. It was originally part of the property of Rhode Island Governor Benedict Arnold (great-grandfather of the other, more infamous, Benedict Arnold), who arrived in Newport in 1651 and died in 1678. The tower is described in Arnold’s will as “my stone built Wind Mill” and by 1741, it was already referred to as the “old stone mill.”
We talked about the Holidomes before. Now, the former Holiday Inn Holidome in Topeka, Kansas, will be torn down and replaced with apartments. This Holidome, located on the west side of town just off I-70, appears to have been built in the early 80s. It eventually became a Ramada Inn but kept much of the Holidome architecture, including the interior courtyard and pool. It permanently closed about four years ago. Photos of the shut-down hotel are at the Topeka Courier-Journal online. Some photos of the hotel in happier times (when it may have already transitioned into a Ramada) are below, by way of Google.
Featured Image: Holiday Inn Topeka West Postcard may predate the Holidome expansion.
Cool fonts: LA Apartment signs from the Los Angeles Times, naturally.
Featured image: Willem Verbeek/The Los Angeles Times.
Two different perspectives on houses and preservation that should have more of an overlap in Long Island, New York
Featured image: The Geller I house by Marcel Breuer in Lawrence, New York. Demolished 2022. Source: Docomomo/Syracuse University.
Featured image: The Gothic-styled Union Trust Building, built in 1916 as the Union Arcade by Henry Clay Frick.
Recently we visited Manitoga, a National Historic Landmark that is the studio and home of industrial designer Russel Wright. A prime advocate of what has been called “Livable Modernism,” Wright, with the aid of his wife, Mary, became one of the most influential and well-known designers of the 1930s to 1950s. His pottery, tableware, and furniture brought Modernism to the American masses (quite literally: his most popular line of pottery and one of his furniture lines were both named American Modern).
Together, they wrote the 1950 manifesto Guide to Easier Living which promoted radical ideas like “buffet suppers, one-pot meals, portable seating and lots of double-duty storage…They may be the inventors of modern grad student storage: wooden shelves on cinder blocks hidden behind a curtain” (Alexandra Lange, “Easier Living, By Design”, The New York Times July 23, 2010).
Manitoga came later in his career. He and Mary purchased the land in the Hudson Highlands north of New York City around 1942 and spent many years modifying the landscape, including turning an abandoned quarry pit into a swimming pond complete with a waterfall.
They lived in a cottage (still standing, but not part of the Landmark) next to the quarry. It was not until several years after Mary’s death in 1952 that Russel began building the house and studio (designed with architect David Leavitt). It was completed in 1960 and Russel lived there with his daughter Annie and her governess/housekeeper until his death in 1976.
Dragon Rock is a rare instance of Mr. Wright contradicting his theory of “easier living,” — his daughter, Anne, recalls arduous hours spent vacuuming the rocks and keeping all 11 levels in some semblance of order.Richard Horn, “Collecting Russel Wright” The New York Times August 23, 1979.
If this 54 room home looks a little bit small for something with both “Vanderbilt” and “Mansion” in its name, maybe it’s because Hyde Park was just one of several houses Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt owned. They also had a New York City townhouse, of course, and at various times, a Newport, Rhode Island mansion (Rough Point, later owned by Doris Duke), an Adirondack camp (Pine Tree Point), and a Bar Harbor, Maine mansion (Sogonee, later owned by radio tycoon A. Atwater Kent).
Construction began in 1895, the same year that Frederick’s kid brother, George Washington Vanderbilt II, completed his modest 250-room summer house, the Biltmore Estate.
…Pontoon party boat included. A 1955 house in Upper Greenwood Lake, New Jersey, owned by Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, is for sale. The house is listed for just under $1 Million and property taxes are a very-reasonable-for-New Jersey $15,000 or so. The furniture, which goes all-in on the MCM vibe, has a staged feel, but the house appears to mostly retain the original kitchen and bathrooms.