Enter the lush, verdant grounds of the imposing Naumkeag mansion high on Prospect Hill in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and it’s like taking a walk in a paradise garden.
An ambitious $4.5 million restoration plan for the gardens is nearing completion, up from the original $3 million estimate when the project was unveiled in March 2013 for the National Historic Landmark.
The 46-acre, three-season Gilded Age “cottage” estate was designed by architect Stanford White and completed in 1886 for prominent New York lawyer Joseph Choate, later the U.S. Ambassador to England, and his wife, Caroline Sterling Choate.
In 1958, Choate’s daughter Mabel, who had inherited the property in 1929, bequeathed it to the Trustees, the state’s largest conservation and preservation organization and the nation’s first land trust.
Scheduled for completion next spring is the major, fourth-phase restoration of the complex and prominent Chinese Temple Garden perched on the highest point of the property, a 20-year Steele-Choate work completed shortly before her death in 1958.