Snow Crash at Ventfort Hall – Lenox’s real life story behind Edith Wharton’s “Ethan Frome”

Cornelia Brooke Gilder, photo by Philip Howard.

Cornelia Brooke Gilder, photo by Philip Howard.



Lenox, MA –  Berkshire historian Cornelia Brooke Gilder will uncover the tragic incident behind “Snow Crash: Lenox’s True Story of Ethan Frome” at a Tea & Talk she will present at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 3:30 pm. A Victorian tea will follow the talk and a Q & A session.

When she was pondering the climax of her new novel Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton recalled hearing about a tragic sledding accident six years earlier. Using material from her forthcoming book, Edith Wharton’s Lenox, Gilder will tell about the real accident that happened in Lenox on March 11, 1904. Who were the high school students on the sled?  Why did the accident happen? The sled’s navigator, Hazel Crosby, was killed, but what happened to her school friends, the four survivors?  How did Wharton incorporate a similar accident into her novel?

Gilder worked for the New York State Preservation Office in Albany and has contributed to a number of exhibitions and publications, including A Walk in the Country: George Inness and the Berkshires for the Clark Art Institute. She co-authored with Richard S. Jackson the two editions of Houses of the Berkshires, 1870-1920 and wrote the book Hawthorne’s Lenox, The Tanglewood Circle. Gilder is a member of the Program Committee at Ventfort Hall and was the co-author with the late Joan Olshansky of A History of Ventfort Hall.

Tickets for program are $22 for advance reservations and $27 day of the event.  Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited.  For information or reservations call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206 or use The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

An Official Project of Save America’s Treasures program sponsored by The White House, Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum, built in 1893 for George and Sarah Morgan, the sister of financier J. Pierpont Morgan, offers tours of the historic mansion, as well as Tea & Talks, such exhibitions as the Bellefontaine Collection, concerts, theater, and other programs. This elegant Jacobean-Revival Berkshire “cottage,” listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is open to the public yea around and is available for private rental. Ventfort Hall has undergone substantial restoration, which continues.

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