Venfort Hall Library
Among the stately mansions that dotted the Lenox MA hillsides at the turn of the last century was Ventfort Hall. Here one sees the opulent library, decorated in high Victorian style, soon after the house was completed in 1893.
Victorians packed their domestic landscapes with eclectic collections of mismatched chairs, bookcases, paintings, photographs and knickknacks, employing vibrant hues—a far cry from today’s minimalist furniture and neutral tones.
The building was built as the summer home of George and Sarah Morgan. Sarah (1839-1896) was the sister of J P Morgan and her husband, George (1840-1911) was a New York banker. Despite having the same last name, George and Sarah were only distantly related, descending from two brothers who came to America in the 17th century.
The Morgans kept Ventfort until they died after which it was rented by Margaret Vanderbilt whose husband, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, had died on the Lusitania.
The house was subsequently owned by the Bonsal family from 1925 until 1945 and during the 20th century was used for a variety of purposes including as dormitory, hotel, ballet school and religious organization. Like many of Lenox's ‘cottages,’ Ventfort Hall was left abandoned for decades.
It was nearly demolished in the early 1990s but has now been preserved and restored as a Gilded Age museum.
Photo Courtesy of the Lenox Library Association