The Winthrop Estate was originally created as a summer retreat in 1875 for Henri Braem, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark.
From 1893 thru 1925, the property was the country retreat for the family of Mr. Robert Winthrop of New York. Mr. Winthrop was the eighth generation of an unbroken line of Winthrop men descending from founding governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop (pictures below). Robert was a partner in the banking firm of Drexel & Company. His wife was Kate Taylor Winthrop. She was the daughter of Moses Taylor, who was a partner of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the first president of City Bank (the predecessor of CitiBank) and one of the wealthiest men of the 19th century. Mrs. Winthrop added many fine specimen plantings to the property and her plantings of Ginko Biloba provide what are today regarded as among the finest Ginko Biloba trees in North America. She hosted what the New York Times called ‘the definitive parties of the season’ at the estate.
(above photo and pictured text are from the National Portrait Gallery)
In 1925, Mr. Halstead Lindsley bought the estate. Mr. Lindsley was a mining engineer and financier who, along with his brother, controlled a fabulous international ‘kingdom’ of some of the world’s most productive gold, silver, copper, zinc, nickel and iron mines, the most famous of which is Falconbridge in Toronto, Ontario. He was also an avid golfer (NCAA golf champion 95 years before Tiger Woods) who moved to Lenox to, amongst other things, work on his golf game. Remnants of his practice course on the estate grounds are still visible in the woods to the west of the mansion.
Mr. Lindsley made the Winthrop Estate property his summer home for nearly two decades, rebuilding the main house soon after he bought the property. He built a Tudor-style mansion, with a steel frame, plaster walls, a hand-carved marble fireplace, multi-layered dental molding in the formal dining room, and he also commissioned bath fixtures to be made of solid nickel, many of which remain to this day. After Mr. Lindsley’s departure in 1945, the estate had several owners. It was most recently used as the working headquarters for an environmental technology company.
In 2003, the property was bought by Ethan and Jamie Berg who embarked on an eight-year restoration of the buildings and grounds. While it is one of the Berkshires’ most beautifully restored Gilded Age mansions, it is one of the few that is not part of a larger cultural institution, school or resort, and the owners welcome you to use it in much the same way as the original designers intended: a private retreat in the country.