March 31, 2008

Evergreen House in Baltimore

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to be included with a small group of curators, archivists and researchers from galleries and museums in DC on a tour of the beautiful house, Evergreen. I drive by this house every morning and afternoon on my way to and from work, but haven't actually been inside the house since I was in my early teens. The house is very deceptive - from the front you don't get any sense of how large it is - 44 rooms.
Evergreen was home to the Garrett family from the 1870's to the 1950's. Although time has encroached on its borders, it is still surrounded by gorgeous gardens, even this early in the spring, and the old carriage house with its stables and gravestones of favourite horses. I had some time before the crew arrived from DC to walk the property and take lots of photographs.
Most of the ironwork, lighting and glass, other than windows, is from Tiffany Studios. There are actually a lot of Tiffany glass windows in Baltimore because of the influence of the Garrett Family, and work they did with McKim Mead & White. I worked at another Garrett mansion in the city, which also had tons of Tiffany glass.

The library at Evergreen is spectacular. There is a complete set of Audubon Double Elephant Bird Folios, a page of which can go for more than $175,000! A complete set was sold at Christie's for $8.8 million. There are Shakespeare manuscripts, signatures of all of the early US Presidents, and a book I would have loved to look at called "Scraps". My mother told me that the book group my father belonged to used to meet there for cocktails and dinner. Wow!
Architecturally, the house is Italianate with revival additions. There are columns, leaded glass windows and cornices. There is a gold bathroom, where all of the wood and pipes are covered with 23 carat gold, a theatre stencilled by Leon Baskt, an iron and glass floor installed by Tiffany Studios and so much more.

If you're in Baltimore, Evergreen House is worth an afternoon of your time.

21 comments:

  1. what a beautiful house? That is cool that you were with a small group to tour the home.

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  2. I can't believe they wouldn't let you take pictures! I guess I'll have to start planning that John Waters-pilgrimage soon.

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  3. what a dream.what a house,wish I could see it for myself.xoxo

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  4. I enjoyed the attention to detail photos. You are so lucky to have visited such a lovely home.

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  5. How weird- I was just reading about this over the weekend. Billy Baldwin used to attend parties here, and he used to dance in Mrs. Garrett's theatrical productions in the Bakst designed theater!

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  6. Peak... you know that Baldwin is from Baltimore and since it's 'tiny-town' as we call it, I am sure he would have known the Garretts.

    Mama... I did manage to sneak some inside photos (shhhhh...) and will post them later.

    There's one amazing wall I want to share.

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  7. It's hard to believe I have lived here most of my life and have never been to Evergreen house...your post makes me want to change that. The pictures are lovely.

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  8. AWESOME post! But, just how did you get that shot of the Tiffany doors (ahem)? Love it!

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  9. What a treat for you. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  10. Wow i've never heard of this place -i have to see it! You know house tours are always right up my alley! Beautiful photographs too -it was a great day Saturday for picture taking!

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  11. What a beautiful house - I especially love the ironwork!! Wonderful photos!!

    This is such a wonderful blog - I stumbled on to it some months back and love to visit!

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  12. Extraordinary! And how lucky you were to be included in the tour. Was this house actually occupied into the 1950s?

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  13. amazing photos..thanks for sharing!

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  14. Just gorgeous. Can just see Billy Baldwin cutting his teeth on decorating here.

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  15. Julie... the family deeded it to Johns Hopkins (ever heard of it?) in the 1940's with the stipulation that the last Mrs. Alice Garrett be able to live there until her death, which came in the 50's. She stipulated that her and his bedrooms couldn't be shown as bedrooms, because it was too personal. So now they're exhibit space.

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  16. such a beautiful house = you are so lucky to have gotten that tour. The facade is gorgeous - did you notice how the trees in the front are just starting to bloom faintly lilac colored? Can't wait to see the insides, shhhh.!!!

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  17. So THAT'S Evergreen House! I'd heard about it for years but I never could figure out where it was (me being at Loyola for all that time, I should be smacked). It was the same thing at the Anne Frank Huis as far as photos. Sure, they let EVERYBODY in, but no cameras. Probably would slow the queue down. The line was long enough at 10 in the morning!

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  18. Unbelievable that I've never heard of it...I will definitely go. Your photos were amazing.

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  19. A friend of mine has a house on Gipson Island, and Baltimore is not too far...maybe I can visit this architectural beauty when I next visit my friend.

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