The Blairsden Estate in Peapack Gladstone, New Jersey, is certainly one of the greatest examble of beaux arts mansions in the United States. For a short thirty day window this private estate is open to the public as part of Mansion in May, that started back in 1974 with the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center (WAMMC) and has raised over $8 million for worthwhile causes at Morristown Medical Center.
Blairsden, built in the late 1890’s was Over sixty designers have spent months preparing for the Mansion in May exhibit.
Blairsden is the name of the Peapack, New Jersey estate named after its original owner C. Ledyard Blair, a prominent investment banker and ambitious entrepreneur who recognized the beauty of the beautiful Somerset Hills area and decided to build one of the largest estates ever built in the region.
At its time Blairsden was designed and built by Carrere and Hastings with state of the art technologies that actually still function today. Advanced heating and ductwork, water pumping systems, whole house intercoms, refridgeration, electricity, fire prevention systems are just a few of the advanced technologies.
The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills is a local history organization that has followed the history of Blairsden and states that Blairden is “the most searched history topic on their website” . Some of the best storytellers of Blairsden’s history are W. Barry Thomson and John Charles Smith, two residents who’ve had direct involvement with Blairsden over the years. Mr. Thomson actually was raised on the Blairsden
Estate’s lower property and noted that “I was often chased by the nuns while exploring the Blairsden property as a child.” The book “New Jersey Country Estates – The Somerset Hills Vol 1 and 2 written by Barry Thomson and Jack Turpin serves today as the best reference to the history of Blairsden.
John Smith, a former Trustee at the local historical society has been involved with landscape architecture on the property for some of the previous owners. John, being a history buff also created a early 1930’s reconstruction of all of the estate properties in a beautiful period map.
Mansion in May – Artists and Designers Profiles
Over 60 artists and designers participate in the 2014 Mansion in May. Each room covering two floors and exterior spaces are used for the designers and artists to express their crafts using Blairsden as the backdrop. Listen to the experiences of two of the MIM participants below:
And lastly, couldn’t resist that while waiting for the transportation to return to the parking area, a number of nuns were seen visiting Blairsden. St. John the Baptist was once owners of Blairsden. While the internet has been a bit unkind to the nuns protraying spooky stories of murder, death, and hauntings, nothing could be further from the truth. It never happened. That’s for sure.
A complete set of videos of the historic Blairsden estate is available now on the Mr. Local History YouTube channel
The Mansion in May at Blairsden is open from May 1 – 30 only. Since the estate is privately owned, don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime events to see one of the greatest mansions ever built.
Additional Mr. Local History Posts
- Blairsden; The Horror of the Nuns
- Blairsden: The gilded age of the fine estate
- Blairsden Video Series: 15 videos of the house and property
- Natirar – The Blairsden Neighbor to the South
- Jacqueline Kennedy’s life in the Somerset Hills