Steep slopes of tiled roof. Windows of leaded glass. Halls of grand scale. Such details mark the distinctively European style of Harrie T. Lindeberg, architect of country homes for high society through the 1920s. Nearly a century later, such details captured the hearts of partners Bill and Dana.
“We came to buy a cape near the beach, we ended up with an English manor four miles from it,” says Bill of their search for an escape from Florida’s hurricane season that ended with the purchase of a Lindeberg original – The Ledges at 120 Grapevine Road in Wenham, Massachusetts. “Right after Dana and I came up the driveway, standing at the front door, we knew this was the house for us. We almost didn’t even go inside,” recalls Bill.
Named for its stone façade quarried onsite, The Ledges was commissioned in the mid-1920s by a prominent Boston attorney. He and his family lived in the home into the 1940s, undoubtedly finding comfort within its walls during the Great Depression and World War II. They also undoubtedly lifted their spirits within its speakeasy during Prohibition. “They turned part of the third floor into a hermetically sealed, airtight, light tight, sound tight room outfitted with an Art Deco bar,” explains Bill. “When you closed the doors, you could hear nothing, see nothing, and have a lot of fun doing things that were most likely against the law.”
For fourteen summers, Bill and Dana have had a lot of fun at The Ledges too, especially in its yard as their siblings, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren jumped off the diving board and frolicked through the grass. “It is a family outing kind of place, comfortably sleeping, feeding, and entertaining up to 20 people.” says Bill.
Having recently built a waterfront home in the neighboring town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, where Dana grew up, the couple is selling The Ledges. Bill is hopeful that the next occupants “leave it, leave it, leave it. Leave the leaded windows, leave the leaded glass doors, leave the hardware. They are all soldiers of different wars, of different eras.” Several of Lindeberg’s homes were regrettably demolished having been, as Bill puts it, “too large to survive.” At a mere 7,850 square feet, however, the comparatively small Ledges has not only been spared, but also proudly preserved as a “piece of comfortable and manageable history.” To continue its legacy, Bill insists “the next owner has to love it for what it is.”
Until then, Bill and Dana are continuing its legacy, finding comfort within its walls during quarantine and having fun in its yard as their family jump off the diving board and frolic through the grass.