Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Return to Ten Chimneys

October 7th was a vacation day for me, so we took the time to drive out
to Genesee Depot to visit Ten Chimneys, the rural retreat of theatre
greats Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, now a museum. We had been there
before, but wanted to refresh our memories of this amazing place.

The estate, which has been lovingly restored, contains all the couples
furniture, objet d'art, books--everything down to dishes and sheet
music. As a "design for living," it really is remarkable. Nearly every
room was obsessively designed, down to placement of individual
knick-knacks, to be a sort of theatrical set, and yet they also manage
to be comfortable and inviting. In one way, it's croggling to think that
people like Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, Laurence Olivier and Noel
Coward trekked to this rural Wisconsin village just to stay here, relax,
and make plans. On the other hand, having seen it, one can see how
utterly cool it might have been--.

On this tour, we were lucky enough to have a very good docent who was a
long-time volunteer and who had been involved in the preservation
efforts from early days, who had lots of good information to share and
some stories we had not heard on our first visit.

Ten Chimneys preserves a fascinating part of American artistic history
and is well worth visiting if you are in the area.
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