First it served as the summer residence for a prominent local farming family, and then for the Town of Portsmouth as a venue for weddings and other special events.
PORTSMOUTH — First it served as the summer residence for a prominent local farming family, and then for the Town of Portsmouth as a venue for weddings and other special events.
That home, of course, is The Glen Manor House, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. There will be a party in its honor on Wednesday, Aug. 16, and everyone’s invited.
But first, a little bit of history behind the town’s historic home, located on Frank Coelho Drive.
Glen Farm began to take shape in 1882, when Henry Augustus Coit (“HAC”) Taylor, a prominent entrepreneur of railroads and other business interests who had homes in New York City and Newport, starting buying farmland in Portsmouth. He and his son Moses, who was in the railroad and steel business and lived with his wife, Edith, in New York, bought additional acreage and began breeding Guernsey cows. The farm also raised competitive sheep, horses and other animals.
By the early 1920s, H.A.C. Taylor had plans to build a main summer home at Glen Farm and hired internationally famous architect John Russell Pope, whose firm also designed the Jefferson Memorial, the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, and the National Archives and Records Administration building, all in Washington, D.C. Pope, who also designed his own personal residence, The Wave, in Newport, incorporated some of the features of the “Petit Trianon” at Versailles.
Taylor died in May 1921, but construction was continued by Moses, who also oversaw the home’s extraordinary gardens and grounds, landscaped by the Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Mass.
Moses died in 1928, and Edith lived on the property until her death in 1959. Her son, Reginald Taylor, sold the estate and 43 acres to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, which ran their Elmhurst Academy from 1961 to 1972.
The town purchased the property on a bond issue, and operated the Manor House as an event venue and used the north end of the complex as Elmhurst Elementary School until its closing in 2010. The school was torn down four years later and turned into a park, but the Glen Manor House still stands and is now run under a private operation agreement between the town and Russell Morin Catering & Events.
All are invited to celebrate the anniversary of Glen Manor House from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 16. There will be live music provided by local favorite Deja Vu, and families can bring a picnic or purchase from the food trucks on site.
Town Historian Jim Garman will present a short talk on the history of the Glen Manor House, and visitors can wander the grounds and tour the first-floor rooms to get a sense of what life was like in the 1920s.
Bring your own chairs, but please leave your pets at home.
If rain threatens, check www.facebook.com/PortsmouthHistoricalSociety. The rain date will be in the fall.
The event is being presented by the Friends of Glen Manor, the Portsmouth Historical Society, and Russell Morin Catering & Events.