The First Lady will visit The Mount, home of novelist Edith Wharton in
Lenox, Massachusetts. The Mount includes the grounds, house, stables,
and gatehouse, all of which were designed by Wharton and built in 1902.
The Mount was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1971, and is
one of the few such landmarks dedicated to a woman.
Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was the author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan
Frome, and The House of Mirth as well as works on architecture, gardens
and interior design. She was the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer
Prize for Fiction, the first woman to receive an honorary degree from
Yale University, and one of the few civilians during World War I to
receive the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for her extensive
humanitarian war work.
Preservation needs: Restoration of The Mount was instigated roughly
years ago be a theater company that performs on the site. Although The
Mount remains architecturally intact, the house and grounds have never
been restored, and there is a need for preservation and repair.
Two restoration phases are planned. The first would deal with the
exterior of the building, the mechanical systems, performing and writing
a garden landscape report to determine what Wharton had planted where,
and stabilizing the outer buildings, including the large stables and the
near-collapsing Italianate terrace. Last year the roof, chimneys and
cornice were all refurbished, and restoration of the exterior stucco
work, which will replicate Whartons stucco recipe is underway. The
second phase would include all the interiors and replanting of the gardens.