Whitehall Annual Report 2013-2014

Enjoyed another year of Philosophers and Dames at our nearly three hundred year old house and it becomes clear that we need to focus on substantial repairs to the house and grounds. Towards that end our annual fundraising has netted more than last year at this time and a special Dame has donated $5000 anonymously in the hopes that others will set their standards similarly towards raising our goal of more than $200,000. Last week a Champlin grant was submitted to help with this goal.

Last  summer brought Rhode Island Day and a celebration of Dames whose ancestors were from Rhode Island. We proudly learned about the ancestors at lunch at St. Columba’s (where a spring storm had sent us) and after lunch  a bus load of  visitors to Whitehall.

We had a full house of Philosophers during our summer months with receptions in front of the house organized by Margo Stapleton and Fun Jenkins for each of them.  As usual we learned a great deal about our George Berkeley and were given thoughtful ideas for further research; where did Miss Handcock go on leaving Whitehall?

Docents were trained by Nancy Bredbeck and Mary Twichell organized our schedule. Joanne Dunlap organized the Scholar/Philosophers and Nancy Kendrick was their liaison to the International Berkeley Society.

Fall brought our annual open house “Apple Day” with Betsy Leersen presiding over the indian pudding contest with Margot Grosvenor with the winning tasty brown pudding- you either like it or not!  Our Christmas event was decorated by all with greens from Nancy Parker and treats from all of us.

All the wonderful committee members help to make all of our events and plans happen.

Winter was very cold this year and a number of emergencies called Mary Twichell and Margot Grosvenor to the house in snow, cold and alarms.  Jeannie solved the problems when she came back to town by turning off the water and later moving the thermostat!

After the snow came the 5 inches of rain that allowed water to cascade through the basement walls and through the bulkhead.

Repairs to the house are ongoing- mostly basement related- with Jeannie and her contractors working on the water, the french drains, dehumidification and targeting mold.

This summer will bring a  Flag Day lecture by Joan Youngken from the Hale homestead wherefrom our Whitehall opening speaker  Edward Everett Hale came in 1900 .

Then the visit of Philosopher Bishop Ipgrave will be celebrated by inviting our local Episcopal clergy to commemorate George Berkeley’s island friendliness to all.

We hope that all of the Dames not just our committee will join us.

Thanks to all the Dames for helping to continue our traditions at Whitehall,

Elle & Jeannie