Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hillwood Estate

On the very good advice of my friend, Jannet Downs, we dropped by Saturday to see the Hillwood Estate Museum near the National Zoo.
We enjoyed seeing the beautiful home, completely furnished, with the table set, wating for company!
The estate was replete with treasures collected by Marjorie Merriweather Post (heir to the Post Cereal company) over her lifetime. 
She had a special love for Russian art, and collected many items while living in Russia with her ambassador husband. These Fabarge eggs were beautiful!

It was fun seeing the kitchen, which was preserved in the style of the 1950s.

The gardens were beautiful, despite just barely thawing out from our long cold winter.

The Japanese rock garden was fun to walk in, as you got to cross the water over different bridges.

I loved the musical figures at the entrance to the garden.

This was a woman who loved her pets, and had a beautiful pet cemetery dedicated to them!

The greenhouse housed a variety of beautiful orchids.

We enjoyed the visit so much and hope to return at Christmas and see how they decorate for the holidays!

1 comment:

  1. As noted, Mrs. Post was heir to the Post Cereal Company. But she was more than an heir. She worked hard to build the company, started by her father, with help from others, including her husband, EF Hutton, into the General Foods Corporation. She was an early proponent of frozen foods and her company purchased Birdseye. Her children included Dina Merrill of movie fame (Petty Coat Junction and more recently Caddie Shack II). Mrs. Post loved her gardens and insisted upon fresh flowers at her table every day. Mrs. Post was generous with her wealth. Her beneficiaries included the National Symphony where she was a director. And I recall hearing that she set up food kitchens for the hungry in NYC during the depression. During World War I she contributed a 3000 bed military hospital. I believe that was in France. And she gave the military the use of her huge yacht during the war. The Hillwood estate, now an active museum, was her home during the warmer months. During the winter she lived at Mar-A-Largo on the ocean in Palm Beach. That home was purchased by Donald Trump a number of years ago. As a successful female in the General Foods board room, she had a unique style, for her time. It was said that "she wanted to show the world that a woman could be a good business person and didn't have to pretend to be a man." And the Washington Post noted that "She kept that steel-trap mind behind a veil of femininity". Hillwood is one of the best kept secrets in Washington, DC.

    Eric Sheldon
    Historian, BA Maxwell School