Monday, September 13, 2021

T Stands for Inside the Crane Manor

Hi everyone! Happy T Day once again. It is hard to believe we are just about at the middle of September already, isn't it?

Last week was a relatively quiet one for me after getting past the busy long Labor Day weekend.  Since there isn't all that much to share, I thought today for T I would take you on an inside tour of the Crane Estate. Last week for T I took you on an outside tour. Here's the link back T is for Spontaneity in case you are interested.

I'll warn you this post is a bit long. Sorry about that.

The Crane manor is a 3 story building that the Crane family first lived in in 1929. The first floor is (for the most part) is open to walk around whether you take a tour or not. The furniture there is not original and you can sit wherever you might like. Some of the rooms are even more or less empty to use for functions since you could , for example, host a wedding there.  I am assuming this first photo is of the family  library.

There are 2 tours to view the rest of the house. One tour is for the second floor, and the other tour takes you up to the third floor and to the cupola. The views from the third floor must be amazing, but unfortunately when we arrived, we would have had to wait longer to take that tour as the next available one was scheduled later in the afternoon.

There was a tour of the second floor bedrooms and bathrooms in 15 minutes after our arrival, and even though that didn't initially sound as exciting as going into the cupola, my friend and I decided to take that one.

I am glad we did. My friend and I were the only ones on that tour, unlike the third floor tour, which we saw heading off when our tour finished, that had around 20 people in it. (Masks were required inside the house.)

Our tour was also a bit more theatrical. Our tour guide was Mrs. Poppins (no not Mary), but a woman dressed up and playing the role as the head housekeeper in the house in 1929, who was a real Mrs. Poppins. My friend and I were each house guests. We each picked a card telling us our information as we paid for the tour. I can't remember my name on the card, but I was a middle aged woman who was related by marriage to a famous Bostonian, Isabella Stewart Gardner. My friend played a much younger woman whose fiance had just died. 

This was an excellent tour. 

First let me refresh your memory that the Crane family, who were from Chicago, made all their money in bathroom fixtures like toilets, showers and tubs, so seeing the upstairs private bathrooms was amazing. Mr. Crane was also into the latest 1929 gadgets, so there might be a few in my photos.

Each member of the family had their own suite, with a large bedroom, private bathroom, dressing room with closets, sitting room, and even a sleeping porch with a bed by a large expanse of windows so it would be more comfortable on those hot summer nights.  I can't say the porch was  what we think of a porch, but more of a heavily windowed hallway. And yes, for those of you who mentioned this in your comment last week, the rooms were basically from an English estate or house, taken apart piece by piece, and then shipped to the US and reconstructed in the house.

OK, photos.

It's not like we were allowed to wander so my photos are limited. You can at least get a gist from these.

First a few snapshots of Mrs. Crane's suite. That's Mrs. Poppins on the left in the reflection, and my friend Jo on the right.

I snapped this next photo as this is the young Mrs. Crane when she was still single, well before 1929, sketched by John Singer Sargent. He  is a major American artist, but was up and coming at the time he did this piece. 

This Delft tile in the son's (Cornelius Crane) tube was beautiful. It was also interesting only the men had showers. I guess in 1929 it was still improper for women to shower, and they were only suppose to bath in a tube. You can see the door to his shower on the right of the photo.

In 1929, the son was not with the family but in the south Pacific sailing on his private yacht, a gift from his dad. This is a model of it in this next photo.

Onto Mr. Crane's private bath.

On the left of the tub is his shower, and on the right is his toilet. I found it interesting all of the toilets were in their own little rooms. He was also the only one in the family to have a heated towel rack.

Here's a few glimpses into his room.

Then there was the daughter's suite.
I thought this painted glass was a bit masculine for a girl, but she also loved sailing. In 1929 she was an older teenager.

This is next photo is of her on her fireplace mantel. 

And here is an example of the sleeping porch I mentioned earlier. You can see the beach off in the background and the grass tennis court on the bottom right.

And how about this guest room?  Although I will say if you stayed here you didn't have your own sleeping porch or en suite bathroom.

And finally, we ended up in the first floor dining room where we could go back to being ourselves. This part of the first floor was not open to general public viewing.

I think you can just make out the glasses on the table, my connection to T this week. This next photo is a better view.

You can see them better here.
Don't forget to stop by Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog at this link to see what all the T ladies have been up to. 

Hope you enjoyed visiting the Crane mansion. If you want to learn more, here is the link to the Wikipedia page about the land, house and family: Castle Hill

Have a wonderful week ahead. And of course, thanks for visiting!



Kate Yetter said...

What a beautiful house! I loved seeing all the photos. It reminds me of something from the clue game. It is always fun when the tour guides play a role.
Happy Tea Day,

Linda Kunsman said...

Oh how I loved this visit of the Crane Estate through your eyes!! I wouldn't even know where to start or end because this is the style of furnishings and home I love so. And the game play sounds so fun too! Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed every bit of this post Erika. Happy T day!

kathyinozarks said...

Hi Erika, what a lovely home-I can see the bathrooms must have been very special and "modern" for it's time period. looks like a lovely estate-I loved that you shared the photos with us-hugs Happy new week Kathy

Carola Bartz said...

Wouldn't it have been fun if Mary Poppins would have been your tour guide?
What a grand house - I really like the Delft tile.

Birgit said...

This looks like a great tor and I love the marble. Why did the men only get heated towel racks? I think I would have stolen his towel. This looks like. Great tour and one most people miss out on.

Iris Flavia said...

Mrs. Poppins, oh, bet she cannot hear any jokes anymore!

That sure sounds like a fun tour!

Women were not allowed to shower, by golly. Where is the logic? Years ago we got rid of our tub as we never used it as that but as shower.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful tour.
Have a happy T-day.... and week :-)

Valerie-Jael said...

That is a really beautiful place you visited, and I like their concept to get the visitors to play along, what fun! That really was a wonderful trip you went on with your friend. Happy T Day, take care, hugs, Valerie

CJ Kennedy said...

The rooms are just beautiful and the bathrooms so modern looking with their marble. Sounds like a fun tour. Happy T Day

nwilliams6 said...

What a lovely estate. I love all the pictures and how fun they have imaginative tours like this. What a view. They definitely had some great bathrooms. The company I work for, Rheem, made bathroom fixtures somewhere in the middle of the 1900s. We sold off that company - wish we hadn't.

Great table, Erika - super pic for T-day. Happy T-day to you,


DVArtist said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. What an amazing place. Have a great week.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I was really amazed at the beauty of the Crane home. So glad you played along as you toured the second floor. You two were very lucky. Those bathrooms were incredible. All that marble would fit in nicely today, too. What an impressive tour and beautiful photos of the bedrooms. That dining room is beautiful, and the table settings were well appointed. Thanks for this absolutely incredible visit through your lens and for T this Tuesday, dear Erika. It's a lovely home indeed.

Jeanie said...

I would love to see this -- fascinating and beautiful. And I'd love to LIVE in Cornelius Crane's bathroom with those tiles! I agree -- the daughter's is a bit more masculine and if I was Corny I would have tried to talk her into a trade! The table is beautiful and wouldn't you love that library? I love it all, Erika. I'm so glad you shared this. Thank you! (Love the tour concept and I must admit, I'd far prefer a shower to a bath! Especially the older I get!)

Mae Travels said...

I'm realizing how many homes I've known (lived in or visited with friends) that dated from that era. So everything you showed is familiar and exotic at the same time. Of course my friends didn't live in houses at that scale of opulence -- only one bathroom, mostly. The house where i've lived for many years was built in the 1920s, though we replaced the bathrooms which weren't original anyway.

best... mae at

Let's Art Journal said...

Wow, what a beautiful place! The rooms look amazing and it looks like you had fun exploring with your friend - amazing 😀. Take care and wishing you a Happy T Day! Hugs Jo x

Sharon Madson said...

Lovely tour! I would love to see it in person sometime! Thanks for sharing. Happy T Day!

Lisca said...

I looooved Crane house! It is so beautiful and for its day very modern (I'm thinking bathrooms). It must have been fun to play the part of a guest with Mrs Poppins. I bet you giggled all the way to the bathroom..
I looked up the son, Cornelius. He became an explorer in his own right and his ship was called the Illaria (or something similar). Interestingly his second name is Vanderbildt. I wonder where that came from. I know the Vanderbilt family is another rich family in the USA (of Dutch origin). Quite a few of them were called Cornelius. (Just wondering...)
Happy belated T-Day,

Divers and Sundry said...

What a cool idea for a tour! I'm impressed by the John Singer Sargent portrait. What a treasure!

Empire of the Cat said...

The house is amazing, thanks for the tour, I had never heard of it before. It always seems a bit odd to me that people would dismantle a house in another country and ship it over, a bit like london bridge lol. Happy belated T day Elle/EOTC xx