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Cosponsored by the Community Events Committee of the Salisbury Association


Ventfort Hall’s lively Jacobean roofline with crenellations, decorative chimneys, and magnificent curved gables have added Old World elegance to the staid New England landscape in Lenox since 1891. The estate -including two gate houses and a grand carriage house was built for members of the Morgan family once rooted in Hartford. The buildings were designed by Boston architects Rotch & Tilden and the landscape by John Huss, later President of the Connecticut Horticultural Society. After the Morgans’ day Ventfort’s paneled rooms were play places for young Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt and his brother George after their father’s death on the Lusitania.

Drawing on years of research on Lenox country houses Cornelia Brooke Gilder brings alive the Ventfort story using letters and photographs from old family albums. She has participated over the past twenty years in the rescue of this doomed landmark by the Ventfort Hall Association and its new life as Lenox’s Museum of the Gilded Age.

A lifelong Berkshire resident, Cornelia Brooke Gilder was educated at Vassar Collegeand New Hall, Cambridge University. She is co-author of Houses of the Berkshires:1870-1930 and Hawthorne’s Lenox and Edith Wharton’s Lenox .

She also has contributed to two architectural guidebooks to Albany, NY where she worked with the New York State Preservation Office early in her career. At the ClarkArt Institute in 2005 she was co-curator of “A Walk in the Country: Inness and the Berkshires” and at the Mount of a current exhibit on Edith Wharton’s husband, Teddy. For the past 22 years she has been a member of the program committee at Ventfort Hall. She serves on the Tyringham Historical Commission.

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