Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island
This house is best associated with...
Henry Harvey Cook
Henry H. Cook, of Fifth Avenue, New York City and "Wheatleigh" Massachusetts
Henrietta (Pollitzer) Pignatelli
Princess Henrietta Guerard (Pollitzer) Hartford, Pignatelli
Keeping Young at Hart
When Gerry died in 1927 he left the home to his younger daughter, Mrs Mabel Drury who - preferring to take a smaller house - sold the property to Mrs Henrietta (Pollitzer) Hartford who had previously rented Lorillard Spencer's "Chastellux" and Frederic Rhinelander King's "King Cottage". Henrietta was the socially prominent and very wealthy widow of Edward V. Hartford, inventor of the shock absorber and co-heir to the A&P grocery store fortune that combined to give him a fortune of some $200-million.
In 1929, Henrietta gave a memorable ball here for 400-guests in honor of the Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and Yale tennis teams; and, in the following year she converted the stables on the Ledge Road making Seaverge the first estate in Newport to boast an indoor tennis court, squash court and gymnasium. The conversion cost $35,000 and Henrietta had all the old original stalls and stable equipment taken to her home in South Carolina.
In 1937, Henrietta married an Italian prince, Guido Pignatelli, just two years older than her own daughter and who'd only divorced his previous wife 24-hours before - although he neglected to tell her! After she died in 1948 (the same year her fast-moving prince married his third wife) her children sold the estate to another widow, Mrs Lillian (Newlin) Van Rensselaer, whose husband Peyton J. Van Rensselaer - 22-years older than herself - dropped dead on board the ship that was bringing them home from their honeymoon.
The Approach of the Incoming Tide
Lillian had been resident in Newport since her widowhood from 1931. However, she did not live here but was, "active with her sister (Edith) in developing Seaverge". In 1952, just four years after the purchase, she was in the process of selling the house to a developer to be subdivided into, "an apartment hotel with dining privileges" when the Review Board rejected the proposal: she'd been given permission to create four apartments, but she insisted on there being six. Lillian was also the same person who made national headlines in 1950 when she sought court action against Timmy 'The Wood-Hooker' Sullivan and his sister for leaving wood piles that she claimed blocked access to her home, "The Hedges".
In 1955, as a 21st birthday present, the parents and aunt (Nellie Fuller) of Donald H. Tinney clubbed together to purchase Seaverge but flipped it the following year in order to finance their purchase of Belcourt. In 1957, Seaverge was demolished for subdivision.
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