Four Brooks Farm

This is Augustus Saint-Gaudens doing a portrait of Mrs. Grover Cleveland in Helena's Studio out behind the Gilders' summer house in Marion, Mass.
This house was to be the Gilders' summer escape for many years until they moved on in the summers to the Four Brooks Farm area near Tyringham.

"When I was very young, about 1890, artists and literary folk formed interesting colonies at Marion and Nonquitt. In Marion, where we went summers, I remember my mother attending a reception in Mrs. Richard Watson Gilder's studio and telling me of the celebrated people she saw there.

Mrs. Gilder was Miss Helena DeKay before becoming the wife of the Century editor and was one of the organizers of the Society of American Artists an artist herself whose ideal heads and flowers were beautifully done, but whose career was cut short because she became an invalid soon after her marriage.

While in Marion, however, she and her husband drew many celebrities and embryo celebrities to the place. You have all seen her studio. It is now the Marion gas plant, just past Tabor Academy, on the trolley road to the station. In Gilder days, though, no trolley road passed its doors; only a grass grown wood path led to this old stone building in the midst of "pines that bring the sunset near" at the head of "The Singer's Lane" behind the Gilder home. It had been an oil refinery - before that a salt factory, but Mrs. Gilder had it transformed into a studio, Stanford White himself designing the great stone fireplace.

Joe Jefferson and his wife were often among the Gilder's guests here and few know that the noted character portrayer treasured his reputation as an artist far more than his name as an actor and that later when he built Crow's Nest on the other side of Buzzards Bay one of his chief joys was in his splendid collection of pictures.

In the Gilder studio, too, St. Gaudens modeled one summer -among his subjects the wife of ex-President Cleveland. Vincent du Mond and Guy Rose also felt the charm of this workplace so filled with the ghost thoughts of gifted people."

from: " Artists of This Vicinity" by Mrs. Elwyn G. Campbell, Presented at the Roundabout Club in 1921 and at the Fairhaven Colonial Club in 1922


The Gilder House

"Toward the head of the [Buzzards Bay] harbor one may find the old-fashioned house occupied in past seasons by Richard Watson Gilder, the editor of the Century magazine, one of the pioneers in Marion. It is a quaint old house, shaded by great balm-of-Gilead trees. An odd flight of steps leads up to the front door and the recently built piazza which fronts the water. Inside, the rooms are little changed from their former character. In an ancient fireplace still stands the rude andirons, and from the crane above swings the water kettle of yore, while near the brick recess are the well-worn shovels, tongs and bellows. In the parlor or sitting-room, one may read in 'the visitor's album,' these appropriate lines from Longfellow:

'For under that roof was no distinction of persons,
But one family only, one hearth, and one household."

from "The Shores of Buzzards Bay" by Edwin Fiske Kimball, article Century Magazine Sept 1892


Helena's Studio

This was the building that became Helena's studio. It was a oil refinery and then a plant for extracting salt from sea water. Stanford White designed the remodel
The Clevelands and the Jeffersons moved into the Marion neighborhood and the Gilder house and Studio became a gathering place.

Four Brooks Farm

"We first came to Tyringham in 1893,' he explained, 'staying at Riverside. After that, till we bought Four Brooks Farm, we boarded in Tyringham every summer that we were in the country. We got into the house in 1898, and in 1899 was our first full summer with guests at Four Brooks - Mr. Cleveland being our first guest."

"Tyringham is in a state of Nature. It is bounded on the north by fountains that never fail, great clouds of laurel, hills of rock and the Great Bear; on the south by Willow Glen, Tyringham River, the Ghosts of Sister Anne and her fellow Shakers, the ponderous shadows of Fernside Forest, and the high horizon line of the Shaker Hills; on the east by the Purple Dawn, and on the west by a hundred summer sunsets. It lies in light between a golden evening of Friday seen from the cars that shoot up the valley of the Housatonic, and the pale regret of City-looking Monday morning. You approach it through stirring and sweet hopes of springtime and leave it when the trumpets of Autumn echo down the bannered valley."

from "The Letters of Richard Watson Gilder" edited by Rosamond Gilder (Richard's words)