Belle Haven is home to one of the first and most spectacular residence parks in the country. Its development between 1884 and 1894 transformed scenic pastureland into a bastion of Victorian luxury. The New York Times described it as “the flower garden of Greenwich, and, indeed, of the whole Connecticut shore.”
Victorian Summer: The Historic Houses of Belle Haven Park focuses on that great flowering, beginning with Frederick Law Olmsted’s storied firm laying out the park’s graceful, lamp-lit streets on which the architectural masterpieces of some of the Gilded Age’s most renowned architects were built for the illustrious movers and shakers of the day.
Victorian Summer features biographies of the estates, their architects and their predominant owners. Some of the homes are sadly gone or unrecognizable, but many shine on as brightly as ever, providing a glimpse of the Gilded Age and its aftermath.
Author Matthew Bernard moved with his family from California to Belle Haven in 1974 and was fascinated by the stylistic and architectural idiosyncrasies of his family home. In a 40-year odyssey that began as personal research, the project expanded into an exploration of the architectural heritage of the entire neighborhood and its early history as a summer resort for Victorian-era titans.
Bernard will show a 20-minute film, which he produced in connection with the book, and follow up with a question-and-answer session. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event and also in the Museum Store.
Thursday, November 1, 2:00–3:00 pm
Members: $10; nonmembers: $15
Click here to reserve or call 203-869-6899, Ext. 10.
Light refreshments will be served.
Vanderbilt Education Center