Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Washington DC Day Trip - Part One - Marjorie Merriweather Post: Hillwood Garden / Part Two - MLK Memorial

I took over 100 fotos on this trip from Cheltenham Adult Evening School. We left at 6:45 am and got home at 7:30 pm. Ada ran the ND meeting for me.

 The front of Marjorie Merriweather Post's mansion. She bought it when she was 70 yrs old. Her father, the head of Post Cereals in Battle Creek, MI, taught her to be the outstanding businesswoman she became. She took over the company at his death. She was all of 27 years old!
 Our bus was full but we broke into small groups. The docents, such as Mary Ann, were all volunteers and extremely knowledgeable.
 Everything is as it was in 1973 when Mrs Post died at age 86.
 Her ashes were put under this obelisk.
 Putting green. Bent grass. Can u see the fan on the right? In the humid weather of DC, it dries off the grass. Other putting greens also use fans.
 Hillwood, the name of Mrs Post's mansion and gardens, has a large cadre of volunteer gardeners. After all, there are 25 acres of different gardens. How can I choose my favorite? I did luv the Japanese Garden and told Mary Lou that in Phila's Fairmount Park there's the lovely Japanese Garden or Shofuso that we visited on Ada's Outing.
Altho we think of the Sphinx as male, the one in Egypt is actually a female, as is this one.
Look at those manicured shrubs!
Every detail is spectacular.
This was quite something. See how the pool water slips down into a crevice? Then it goes all the way down to the above pic with the manicured shrubs.
How'd you like to sleep in this darling dormer? Mrs Post's bedroom was up here so she could look upon the great view below.
Two views of glass-top table with painted wrought-iron porch furniture.
Below, Mrs Post was as famous a Washington hostess as Perle Mesta. She hosted many politicians and presidents on these very same blue plastic chairs.

Flower arrangement on front porch

Her Dacha. According to the Hillwood website, "Her northwest Washington, D.C. estate endowed the country with the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia."

Says Wiki - In 1935, Post married her third husband, Joseph E. Davies, a Washington lawyer. Before the couple divorced in 1955, they lived in the Soviet Union from 1937 to 1938, while he served as the second American ambassador to the Soviet Union, under Joseph Stalin. During this time, Davies and Post acquired many valuable Russian works of art from Soviet authorities.

The Dacha has a collection of 'wedding albums' from Katherine the Great.

Guards are carefully placed in all rooms to safeguard the billion-dollar collections. (Ruth 'Sotheby' Deming)

Dunno if the sundial works, but the sun was working overtime. We trooped around in 85-degree heat. My hair was soaking wet. But I love to sweat. My kidneys are working. When I was on Lithium, I barely perspired.

Here we have the Japanese Garden. See these stones? We walked across them.

Interesting type of ivy.

Detail on wooden fence in Jap. Garden.

Tiny stones between the slate pathway.

This is the only pic I took in the dacha.
The greenhouse, filled with orchids and other unusuals.
Rapunzel, let down your long hair.

Strikingly b'ful petunias.
Here's Shelby Yin who I met on our trip to the Cloisters. Jewish, she married a Japanese man and agreed to raise the kids Catholic. Melvin didn't come this time.
Lunch was beet borscht w sour cream, flaky salmon, and a creamy napolean. I only ate half b/c I didn't wanna get a complex.
Entrance to dacha. Dacha means 'second home' and rhymes with Gotcha!
Well, something certainly got this humongous tree. This was on the woodland trail, which led down some steep stone stairs. At the bottom was

Two main gates. This one was 'not for buses,' of which there were many.

Mrs Post drove a Cadillac, chauffeured of course. Her fourth husband talked her into buying her own airplane. And of course she had a yacht, called Sea Cloud. It's now owned by a cruise company. 

I liked these tall lamps.
Thanks to Essie, one of the volunteer gardeners, for helping me find the Japanese gardens for my second helping of them.

Inside the Mansion

The pink enamel case was a precursor of Faberge. Mrs Post had quite a collection of Faberge eggs and other creations including a belt buckle.

Big Faberge egg on bottom. On top is an unusual Fab. clock commissioned by some princess. Mrs Post bought second-hand much of her collection.
Everything is Russian in this particular room, including the cabinet below.

What books did she have in her library? "Pills to Purge Melancholy" and two volumes of the so-called first novel ever wrin "Pamela" in two volumes. Can you read the title on the red books?

Mrs Post was very health conscious. Instead of reporting to LA Fitness, she square-danced and walked. We walked into her closet and were told that she remained the same size her whole life.

Look at the detail on the wooden paneling next to the fireplace.
And this, ladies and gentleman, is the dining room tabletop.

Telephones called the staff. There were things like doorbells in every room which called the servants.
Her home was built as both home and museum.
Hard to tell, but I'm standing over the railing looking down.
The railing is covered with a velvet-like material.

Oh, actually, this is me. The guard took it b/c we were trying to turn off my flash. It's very complicated.
A bedroom. She has many descendents including her dtr actress Dina Merrill, b. 1925, so she's 87, about the same age as when her mom died. Dina's late father is E F Hutton of the brokerage firm.
Portrait of Mrs Post and Dina, I think.
Fleurs adorned the baffroom. Every time I got in there I'd splash my face with cold water.
Exiting and driving to the MLK Memorial along Connecticut Ave.
Washington Monument is laced with scaffolding. The bldg took a hit in an earthquake two yrs ago.
Oops! A collision which is watched by everyone around....
including these cyclists.
I shocked myself. I got goose bumps as we approached the Martin Luther King memorial. The scale was perfect as MLK loomed over us. How he affects us is up to each individual.
It's made of pink marble from China.
Design was done by the Roma Corp.
Park ranger Tim Ollinger told us the history of the monument. A sculptor was needed. No question about it, only one man would do: Lei Yixin (born 1954) is a prominent Chinese sculptor.

Pink granite. I got off the bus with a young black woman who told me she was missing work to go on the trip. When she saw the monument, she ran up to it and put both her hands on it, a veritable hug.
Rangers' and other folks' shoes.

'You look like MLK" I said to Reginald White, who came with his wife and two daughters. Yes, he's been told that before.

Noisy helicopters constantly flew over the Potomac and the Ranger would stop talking. Someone suggested Obama might be in one of em. 'No,' he said. 'Obama's plane is huge.'

Iris for Civil Rights!
I never knew that MLK's real name was Michael King, Jr. Did you? Dead from an assassin's bullet at 39. The Ranger told us the fascinating and lil-known history of the bus boycott in Birmingham. I'm too exhausted to write about it, just as Rosa Parks was too exhausted to give up her seat for a white person. That was the law.
Mildred from my book club.
Here she is with friend Mary Ann. They both live in the Regency Towers.
Francis Scott Key Bridge on the way home.

Oh say can you see? Not much, it's pitchdark outside. And I'm going to bed.

1 comment:

  1. The sculptor is removing some words b/c they sound offensive outa context http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/02/us/sculptor-removes-phrase-from-memorial-to-Martin-Luther-King-Jr.html?hp&_r=0