Introducing The Indispensable Mr. Peters: Maintaining Lenox Gilded Age Cottages

Historian and wallpaper specialist Robert Kelly will tell the story of “The Indispensable Mr. Peters: Maintaining Lenox Gilded Age Cottages” at the glorious Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. The Tea & Talk will take place on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm.

Coming to America in 1872 as an ambitious, but penniless immigrant, Lenox’s Leonard C. Peters (c.1850-1928) rose to become by 1918 president of the Lenox National Bank.

It’s a story of a time when immigrants who came to America were welcomed for their skills and were able to attain considerable stature through hard work and tenacity.

His initial skills were as a carpenter, and his career has been recently analyzed by Kelly, who has studied Peters’ well-worn leather-bound workbook from the 1880s. Peters was a furniture maker, awning maintainer, “fixer” and supplier to everyone in Lenox from owners of great estates, modest cottages and local dwellings.

Ultimately Peters would build one of Lenox’s most distinctive local landmarks, later known for many years as Talbot’s building on Walker Street, in the architectural style of his hometown in Kent. It was in the Lenox building that Peters had a custom furniture shop, the bank and upstairs his family residence.

Examples of Peters’ furniture and craftsmanship will be exhibited at Kelly’s talk.

Kelly has been in the wallpaper business for over 30 years, and has written over 50 articles, many for the Wallpaper History Society Review. His book Backstory of Wallpaper has been nominated for the Historic New England book prize and is scheduled to be nominated for the Lee Nelson Book Award of the Association for Preservation Technology.

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 visit info@gildedage.org. 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 year round and is available for private rental. Ventfort Hall has undergone substantial restoration, which continues.

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