I woke up to a beautiful Monday morning. I was trying to decide where to explore when I thought of Borderland State Park. This park also just happens to have a beautiful mansion located within, and it has been on my radar for awhile now.
Many moons ago when my late Maggie dog was a puppy this was one of the first places we ever explored. There isn’t just a mansion here there is also a very large trail system. These trails are open to horses as well as dogs. I remember I couldn’t keep Maggie’s nose in line at all she was all over the pace. So in her loving memory I decided to come back for a visit and think of happier times…
Lifestyles of the rich and famous…
When you first pull into Borderland State Park you can’t help but be awed as you start to see the Ames Mansion in all its glory. I know as much as I enjoyed the trails here, this mansion was always calling my name.
The Ames mansion was built in 1910 by Oak and Blanche Ames. Their wealth came from manufacturing shovels. Oaks father Oliver, who incidentally was very good friends with Abraham Lincoln led the company to great wealth. When the shovel company was at its peak it was supplying over 60% of the world shovels. There is a small shovel museum close by displaying all of the different models they created. Be advised the museum is by appointment only, so give them a ring before you head down.
Oak, in addition to shovel manufacturing was a Harvard Professor and a renowned botanist. He was the leading most authority on orchids. He personally discovered over a 1,000 different types of orchids.
Oak married Blanche Ames. A strong women In her own right. She was An inventor, she invented such things as the flushing toilet and an anti water pollution method, she was also active in the woman’s suffrage movement. She was the treasurer for the League of Women Voters and also an artist who illustrated all of her husband’s botany books. After firing their architect for not being able to bring their visions to life, Blanche Ames designed the stone marvel herself.
Home Sweet Home…
In addition to designing the layout of home whose central focus was their extensive personal library, they also designed the beautiful layout of the land I was walking on. They incorporated trails, dams, and ponds, I’ve only shown you a piece of what you can see here, there is still a total of over 1,800 acres left for you to experience.
In 1971 the family gave the estate to the state but the descendants of the family take an active role within the Friends of the Borderlands Park.
The blue mist…aviation disaster
Naturally you see a mansion like this and your first thought is it has to be haunted. I was digging around and read people expected one of their ghosts to be seen, but not that anyone had seen one. However their son Frederick has left a lasting impression.
Fred Ames and his wife Maurice Mozette often flew back and forth from their properties. They had a previous crash that left them just bumped and bruised, but in 1932 on what would be a typical flight route for them, they crashed in Randolph Massachusetts on their way to the familiar summer home in Newport.
It is said that some evenings a blue mist can be seen and it is believed to be the smoke from his plane crashing….
The Ames mansion was definitely a glorious sight to take in and you can definitely picture filming maybe a Bronte tale here, and as it happens many movie producers have thought the same thing. Recently the movies Knives Out and the Ghostbusters movie were filmed here as well as Shutter Island and others.
The grounds were kindly left open to the public while filming was taking place.
Walking in their shoes….
No matter where I’m roaming I always try to imagine the kind of life they were living. You can’t help but walk these grounds and try to imagine a fancy dinner party or drinking tea while reading a book on the lawn. It’s one of the best parts of walking through history. These people walked where you are walking, doing things you only dream of. If we want to know where we are going, we need to know where we came from. I personally thank the Ames family and Borderland Trust for securing this marvel for us, the public, to walk through their history…