Forty-five years have passed since I acquired the first two classical homes. During this time I have bought and restored a dozen old houses, all in the classical American architectural style that so captivated me. Some were sold or given away, but I retain six of the best. These houses are filled with antique furniture, paintings and other decorative arts, much of it original to the houses. The decorative arts of this period manifested featured elements of classical Greek and Roman forms that had inspired the houses. The Duncan Phyfe, Lannuier and other antique furniture I acquired to go with the houses represents the final flowering of hand-carved furniture in America, before machines replaced these craftsmen in the mid-19th Century.
Why I Am Going Public
During a long career on Wall Street, I was involved in bringing many companies “public,” including our own firm (Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette), which became the first NYSE member firm to sell its shares to the public.
So now, at age 85, it’s time to go public with all these houses and their related collections. That is why, in 1993, I formed Classical American Homes Preservation Trust (CAHPT), a not-for-profit foundation that will eventually own all of these houses and open them to the public. Three of the houses are already owned by CAHPT, and the others will be given to the Foundation as my tax and personal circumstances dictate. Meanwhile, the houses that I still own are also open for special group tours by museums, garden clubs, and various preservation organizations. All proceeds from these tours are donated to either the sponsoring organization or CAHPT, as are the proceeds from the sale of our publications such as my book Adventures With Old Houses, which describes my 45-year odyssey in collecting and restoring old houses and antiques.
There are quite a few things that are different or contrarian about Classical American Homes Preservation Trust vis-à-vis other preservation organizations, which I would like you to know about before you consider participating in our activities.