The Other Rockefeller Estate

Today Jim and I toured the other Rockefeller estate in Carver State Park.   The home belonged to John Stillman Rockefeller, nephew of John D. Rockefeller.  Stillman bought the farm in 1937 and completed construction, on what would be his summer house, in 1938.

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During WWII Stillman served with the Airborne Command and developed a real passion for the military and aircraft.  From a wooden platform high up in a tree, he would spend hours watching the aircraft take off from Pope AFB using binoculars.

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When Stillman died in 2004  he bequeathed the house and 1400 acres to the NC Nature Conservancy.  The house sat empty and abandoned for more than 6 years until 2010 when the Conservancy finally accepted the donation and set about restoring it.  With funding from the state and grant money they’ve restored the roof and pumped standing water from the cellar.  According our guide…there were snakes living there…probably feeding on the mice we saw.

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The most interesting part of the estate is simply the contrast between what Stillman built and what Percy created a few miles away.  Long Valley Farm is as modest and simple as Overhills was ostentatious and sprawling.  And while Overhills was designed as an oasis for the Rockefeller’s wealthy East Coast friends, Long Valley Farm was obviously meant to be one man’s retreat away from the responsibility of being a Rockefeller.

 

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