It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Richard Hampton Jenrette, age 89. Dick died peacefully at Roper House in Charleston, SC on April 22, 2018, surrounded by family and friends. He was a gracious man whose many achievements included a successful Wall Street career (The New York Times referred to him as “the last gentleman on Wall Street”), recognition as a leading preservationist, and the founding of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. This year and next we celebrate Dick’s 50 years of preservation with his purchase of Roper House in 1968 and Edgewater in 1969. We will miss his brilliant mind, humility, sense of humor, and twinkling blue eyes. A true gentleman to the end.
Mr. Jenrette had a life-long love and deep appreciation for things of beauty. He assembled one of the largest and best documented collections of Duncan Phyfe furniture in the country, much of it original to the classical houses he lovingly preserved. His passion for preserving old houses began in Charleston in 1968 with the purchase of the Robert W. Roper House on the High Battery, followed soon after in 1969 with the acquisition of Edgewater on the banks of the Hudson River in New York, marking fifty years of preservation. He also made a substantial investment in his adopted Charleston, SC in the late 1960s when he led a partnership that built the Mills House Hotel, which provided a badly needed infusion of capital into the city at that time.
In a foreword to one of Mr. Jenrette’s books, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales notes: “No wonder some of his admirers have described Dick as a one-person National Trust for Historic Preservation.” Mr. Jenrette was involved in the restoration, decoration and landscaping of over a dozen homes over fifty years. Included among these are the Roper House, built in 1838, in Charleston, SC; Edgewater, built in 1824 in northern Dutchess County; Ayr Mount, built in 1815, in Hillsborough, NC; George F. Baker Houses, built in 1931, in New York City; Millford Plantation, built in 1840, near Columbia, SC; and Cane Garden, built in 1786, in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.
Carolina Alumni Review, “In Memoriam – Richard Hampton Jenrette ’51”
The New York Times, “Richard Jenrette, 89, Wall St. Power and Preservationist, Dies”
The Washington Post, “Richard Jenrette, noted investment banker, dies at 89”
The Post & Courier, “Wall Street titan, S.C. preservationist Richard Jenrette has died”
The News & Observer, “Dick Jenrette’s tips for living a full life”
The Sumter Item, “Jenrette was respected preservationist”
St. Croix’s The Avis, “NY banker, philanthropist who restored colonial-era home on STX dies at 89”
The News of Orange County, “Former owner of Ayr Mount passes away”