Two European estates in America

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores MI (which brings us a satisfying instance of the –palooza libfix); and the Castello di Amorosa near Calistoga CA (which offers a range of California wines and also Belgian-style chocolate). The first designed to reproduce the vernacular architecture of the English Cotswolds, the second a fantasy re-creation of an Italian castle.

Traditionally, the great estates of America, designed by and for captains of industry and commerce, had European models — castles and great country houses. They also functioned as art museums or had extensive formal gardens or both. Here in California, think Filoli in Woodside (on the San Francisco peninsula, not far north of where I live) and Hearst Castle in San Simeon (on the Central Coast).

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford house, built in the 1920s, is very much in this tradition, which continues to this day: Castello di Amorosa was built early in this century and opened to the public only 10 years ago.

The Ford estate came to me via Geoff Nathan on ADS-L a few days ago, who wrote about the Pollinator Palooza event there, coming up on the 19th (10-2): an instance of the –palooza libfix in a phonologically satisfying name (long, alliterative, with a nice rhythm).

(#1) 2016 event at Franklin Park in Columbus OH

Back in June Castello di Amorosa came to me from Juan Gomez, who visited it with friends and brought me a  raspberry dark chocolate bar from the shop there:

(#2) “Artisanally made by local gourmet chocolatier, Le Belge, exclusively for the Castello”

Pollinator Paloozas. On the playful libfix, see my 12/18/11 posting “Latkepalooza”, with a section on lollapalooza / lallapalooza, the source of the –palooza libfix.

Then on the event at the Ford house. From its site:

(#3) Monarch butterfly pollinating away

Mix and mingle with live butterflies in our butterfly house and learn about Monarch migrations.

Take a peek into a living bee hive and learn what makes them buzz from the experts at Greentoe Gardens.

Check out live bats from the Organization for Bat Conservation.

Learn about gardening for hummingbirds from Wild Birds Unlimited of Grosse Pointe Woods.

The corresponding event at the Franklin Park Conservatory has its own webpage, again featuring Monarchs:

(#4) Monarch on purple coneflower

There are even nurseries that specialize in plants for pollinators — in particular, Prairie Moon Nursery, Winona MN, with its Pollinator-Palooza Seed Mix:

Designed for full-sun to partial-shade sites with medium soils, this shortgrass mix boasts grasses and most wildflowers at 3′, with some flowers reaching 5′ at full bloom. Bloom times progress spring through fall. Our Pollinator-Palooza Seed Mix moves beyond more common pollinator mixes by offering plants that appeal to a broad array of pollinating insects. Included in the 45 species are some not commonly available like Late Figwort and Hairy Mountain Mint. Research shows that inclusion of native plantings near agricultural crops greatly enhances crop yield, attracts native pollinators, improves ecosystems and lessens reliance on already-stressed European-introduced honeybees that annually are transported around the country to flowering crops. Pollinator-Palooza’s blend of flowers and grasses will be equally appealing to humans and insects. We believe this mix will help enlighten everyone to the importance of pollinator habitat.

The Ford house. From Wikipedia, quite a bit from a long and detailed article on the estate:


The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is a mansion located at 1100 Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe Shores, northeast of Detroit, Michigan; it stands on the site known as “Gaukler Point”, on the shore of Lake St. Clair. The house became the new residence of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford family in 1929. Edsel Ford was the son of Henry Ford and an executive at Ford Motor Company. The estate’s buildings were designed by architect Albert Kahn, its site plan and gardens by renowned landscape designer Jens Jensen. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2016.

The Fords traveled to England with Albert Kahn for the concept’s ideas, where they were attracted to the vernacular architecture of the Cotswolds. They asked Kahn to design a house that would resemble the closely assembled village cottages typical of that rural region. Kahn’s design included sandstone exterior walls, a traditional slate roof with the stone shingles decreasing in size as they reach its peak, and moss with ivy grown across the house’s exterior. Construction on the house began in 1926.

While construction of the house itself took only one year, two years were spent fitting it with antique wood paneling and fireplaces brought from English Manor houses; interior fittings were in the hands of Charles Roberson, an expert in adapting old European paneling and fittings to American interiors. The Gallery, the largest room in the house, is paneled with sixteenth-century oak linenfold relief carved wood panelling. Its hooded chimneypiece is from Wollaston Hall in Worcestershire, England; the timber-framed house had been demolished in 1925 and its dismantled elements and fittings were in the process of being dispersed. Fourteenth century stained-glass window medallions were added to the house in the late 1930s. Roberson’s barrel-vaulted ceiling for the Gallery was modeled on one at Boughton Malherbe, Kent, England. Paneling and doors in the Dining Room, entirely devoid of electricity, came from ‘New Place’, a victim of early twentieth-century expansion in Upminster, a new suburb of London. The Library’s paneling and its stone chimneypiece came from the Brudenell seat, Deene Park, Northamptonshire, England. Harris suggests that this already once removed paneling had come from another ‘Brudenell seat.’ The Study has a wooden overmantel with the date 1585, from Heronden Hall, in Tenterden, Kent.

Other interesting design elements include kitchen counters made of sterling silver, a “secret” photographic darkroom behind a panel of Edsel Ford’s office, and Art Deco style rooms designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, a leading industrial designer of the 1930s. Teague’s first floor “Modern Room” features ‘the new’ indirect lighting method, taupe colored leather wall panels, and a curved niche with eighteen vertical mirrored sections. He also designed bedrooms and sitting rooms for all three of Edsel and Eleanor’s sons. Teague’s design for son Henry Ford II’s bathroom includes grey glass walls made of the same structural glass as its shower stall.

Furnishings: The house featured an extensive art collection, reflecting Edsel and Eleanor’s status as serious museum benefactors. After Eleanor Ford’s death, many important paintings were donated to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Reproductions were hung in their place. The classical French-style Drawing Room features two original Paul Cézanne paintings and reproductions of Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas works. A reproduction of Vincent van Gogh’s The Postman Roulin hangs in the Morning Room. An original Diego Rivera painting, Cactus on the Plains, hangs in the Modern Room.

(On Rivera at the DIA, see my 6/15/15 posting “Rivera in Detroit”.)

There are also extensive gardens, where Pollinator Palooza will take place.

Castello di Amorosa. From Wikipedia:

(#6) Castle and vineyards

Castello di Amorosa is a castle and a winery located near Calistoga, California. First opening its doors to the public in April 2007, the castle is the pet project of 4th generation vintner, Dario Sattui, who also owns and operates the V. Sattui Winery named after his great-grandfather who originally established a winery in San Francisco in 1885 after emigrating from Italy to California.

The winery sits on property that was once part of an estate owned by Edward Turner Bale.

The castle interiors, which include 107 rooms on 8 levels above and below ground, cover approximately 121,000 square feet (11,200 m2). Key details and building techniques are architecturally faithful to the 12th and 13th century time period. Among many other features it has: a moat; a drawbridge; defensive towers; an interior courtyard; a torture chamber [an especially nice touch]; a chapel/church; a knights’ chamber; and a 72 by 30 feet (9.1 m) great hall with a 22-foot (6.7 m)-high coffered ceiling.

(#7) The great hall of the Castello

In addition to an assortment of wines, the Castello shop offers chocolate. Ad copy for the chocolate bar 4-pack:

Can’t decide which Castello chocolate bar is your favorite? Why not get all four! Enjoy our Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, Milk Chocolate, La Fantasia Raspberry Chocolate, and Key Lime Sea Salt White Chocolate bars in this enticing 4-pack.

The raspberry bar was quite tasty.


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