SALEM — Many will be surprised to learn that two of the North Shore’s most beloved mansions, built 100 years apart and just one town away from each other, share many features of great historical interest. Judy Anderson, a social, cultural and architectural historian, will detail some of the most notable parallels between Salem’s House of the Seven Gables and Marblehead’s Lee Mansion in the final installment in the Seven Lectures at Seven Gables series. The event is Wednesday, November 16, from 6 to 7 p.m. in The Gables’ Visitor Center, 115 Derby Street, Salem.
“These two historic houses were prominent in their time,” says Anderson. The houses are known to be superlative examples of American architecture from 1668 and 1768.
Both mansions also support dual missions. The Gables’ Settlement Association collaborates on programs for immigrants, and it preserves and/or interprets seven structures on the National Historic Landmark site. As for the Lee Mansion, the Marblehead Museum and Historical Society purchased it in 1909 and the 1768 structure interprets some of Marblehead’s history.
Anderson points out that strong women with local ties were responsible for preserving the structures at crucial times in their history. Caroline Emmerton, one of the region’s most entrepreneurial philanthropists, purchased The Gables and began renovations in 1908. Louise du Pont Crowninshield, a pioneer in America’s historic restoration movement, led the Lee Mansion restoration between 1930 to 1940. The Lee Mansion, just across the harbor from Salem, is known for its exquisite carvings, mahogany paneling and magnificent hand-painted murals. The aura of splendor the Lee Mansion was matched in scope and scale by the Turner Mansion a century earlier.
At the conclusion of the illustrated lecture, Anderson will sign copies of her book, “Glorious Splendor,” which gives a detailed look at historic wall coverings. The book covers some wall coverings that are virtually unknown, but are also rare and significant to the Lee Mansion and its interpretation. Her discussion is free for members and $7 for nonmembers. Register online at www.7gables.org, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 978-744-0991, ext. 104.
Anderson presents illustrated talks about 18th-century Anglo-American decorative arts, architecture and social history, with an emphasis on Marblehead. After 30 years in the museum field, she is now the principal of an educational non-profit, Marblehead Architecture Heritage, as well as Marblehead Architecture & Heritage Tours.
About The House of the Seven Gable Settlement Association
The mission of the House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to preserve its National Historic Landmark and leverage its power as an icon of American culture to engage diverse audiences and provide education opportunities for the local immigrant community. For more information, visit www.7gables.org.
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