|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
Scope and Content
The architectural drawings found at "Natirar" at the time the property was acquired by Somerset County, in 2003, include those relating to the original designs by Guy Lowell and Henry J. Hardenbergh between 1910 and 1912, and those relating to the alterations and renovations made in the late 1940s under the direction of York and Sawyer. The drawings are organized by architect, which, in effect, also organizes the drawings by date ranges. Drawings that bear the names of various subcontractors have been organized by subcontractor but are filed with reference to the relevant principal architect. In addition to the drawings pertaining to "Natirar," the collection includes copies of three drawings by architect William Hanford Beers (1856-1932) of the "Gedney Farm" residence of Howard Willets and Mary Macy Willets at White Plains, New York, which was constructed circa 1898 (see photographs of the Willets residence in the July 1901 issue of The American Architect and Building News). William H. Beers' wife, Alice Macy, was a first cousin once removed to sisters Mary Macy Willets and Kate Macy Ladd.
Using the Collection
Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Restrictions on Use
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
2015-10-28 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Catherine ("Kate") Everit Macy (1863-1945) and her husband, Walter Graeme Ladd (1856-1933), began to acquire land in what are now the Somerset County, New Jersey, communities of Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills and Bedminster in 1905. Eventually, the Ladds created one of the largest estates in the Somerset Hills "Mountain Colony" encompassing some 1,000 acres. They named their estate "Natirar" an anagram for the North Branch of the Raritan River that meanders for approximately two miles through the property.
From 1905 until 1912, when their new brick and limestone, slate-roofed Tudor-style mansion was completed (the extant main "Natirar" residence), Kate and Walter Ladd resided in a large frame house located nearby on the property. That house had been constructed circa 1895 by Zachariah and Kate (Fuller) Belcher, the previous owners of the nearly 200-acre tract, called "Sunnybranch Farm" that would form the core of the "Natirar" estate. The Belcher house was demolished shortly after the completion of the Ladds' new residence.
The Ladds selected Boston-based architect and landscape architect Guy Lowell (1870-1927) to design their new residence, principal outbuildings, and the lay out the estate's English park-like landscape. A few years before, Lowell had designed the Ladds' other residence"Eegonos" (now called "East of Eden") located on Frenchmans Bay at Bar Harbor, Maine. Lowell was associated in the design of "Natirar" by New York architect and nearby Bernardsville, New Jersey resident, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh (1847-1918).
The Ladds resided at "Natirar" until their deaths, Walter in 1933 and Kate in 1945. Following Kate Ladd's death, provisions in her late husband's will provided for the conveyance of the estate and a large cash endowment to the newly created Kate Macy Ladd Fund. The Fund sold off about half of the estate's acreage and made alterations and renovations to the former Ladd mansion to convert it for use as a convalescent facility, as specified in Mr. Ladd's will. The alterations and renovations in the late 1940s were carried out under the direction of the New York architectural firm of York and Sawyer.