Blithewold's Site History 

                The Enclosed                                     The Bosquet                      The Wellhead                               The North Garden


Previous Page

In developing the site history and considering how Blithewold relates to other historic properties of the era, a number of themes have emerged.

Blithewold has a rich legacy, which has evolved over time. While features from the past 120 years are most evident, the underlying layers from more than 400 years of continuous land use can still be traced on the land. New owners have shaped the property to meet their own needs, just as fires and hurricanes have created dramatic transformations. New gardens were created, plantings have matured and new programs have been developed to serve its changing mission from private to public enjoyment.

Unlike many estates of the period, where earth was moved and forests were planted to shape Nature to the tastes of its owners, landscape gardener (who sometimes referred to himself as a landscape architect) John DeWolf and Bessie Van Wickle McKee subtly transformed the natural topography and vernacular landscape structure at Blithewold that date to Colonial times. Some landscape features, such as the Enclosed Garden, appear to have been in place since the mid-19th century, before it was purchased by the Van Wickles. Bessie’s vision of creating “an estate in which new beauties are constantly revealed, and the perfect accord between architecture and grounds is ever apparent” remains in evidence today.

Next Page

    From Our Blog

  • Blithewold Birds: The Familiar Faces of Year-round Residents (Nov 06, '15)
    Blithewold’s grounds are known for its spectacular plant specimens of many different shapes, colors, and varieties. Predictably, as flora and fauna often come hand and hand, Blithewold is home to hundreds of birds during all seasons in the East Bay. The days have begun to shorten and the temperatures are dipping. By now, Blithewold has […]
  • The Pardees (Oct 27, '15)
    The name Pardee is derived from the French oath par Dieu which was Anglicised to Parde, Pardy, Pardie, and ultimately to Pardieu and Pardee. Around 1530 these families were living in the Normandy region of France. Religious persecution drove the families across the Channel to the south of England, and in the 1580s John Pardee […]
  • Cranborne Manor, Dorset, England (Sep 30, '15)
    Blithewold Mansion was built in 1907 on the site of an earlier house which burned in the summer of 1906.  The new house was designed in an English Country Manor style. It has often been said that the west façade of Blithewold is a copy of an English Country Manor in Dorset, England, and there […]
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail
List icon Sign up for Our E-Newsletter
Email Newsletters you can trust