Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A National Treasure Facing Foreclosure

Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope. ~ Edith Wharton

I came across a story on Luxist about the fate of Edith Wharton's home The Mount back in March. The home was facing foreclosure and a future that likely involved it becoming private property no longer open to the public. The fact that this Historic Landmark might be yet another victim of the mortgage meltdown was quite frightening.

I immediately went to their website and pledged what I could and was told that they wouldn't ask for any of the donor's to send in their pledges unless they were able to raise enough commitments to restructure their debt and keep The Mount open to the public.

On August 15th I received a letter asking that I submit my pledge as they received over $1 million in donations. They're still working on suring up the future of this great house museum, but for 2008 at least they are open and it appears that if they can continue to raise funds this can be at least one happy foreclosure story. They're still hoping to reach their goal of $3 million by the end of October, so please do what you can to not only give a little but raise awareness.

Please visit The Mount website and make a donation.

Wharton, the author of Ethan Frome, The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence, designed and built the house in 1902. She wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture and gardens and was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The Mount is one of the five percent of National Historic Landmarks dedicated to women. It only gets around 30,000 visitors a year but is a lovely and significant reminder of a more gracious era.

Wharton designed The Mount, built in 1902, and put into practice many of the principles she espoused in The Decoration of Houses, including an enormous first floor gallery and a bedroom suite that accommodated her writing. As a Wharton fan, I’ve wanted to visit The Mount, especially as it has been substantially restored to Wharton’s original plans. Below are a few picture's from The Mount's website.

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