American Country Place Era (1890-1930) estates emerged with the onset of new wealth in America from the Industrial Revolution. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw newly affluent families build expansive residencies, often aimed to emulate the traditions and age of old European estates. Many of these estates were designed to have large, imposing houses, formal, intricate gardens, and uninterrupted views of the natural environment surround the property.
Cheekwood is an estate of this era. Built between 1929 and 1932, it was inspired, in part, by the Cheek family’s trip to England in 1929 with their architect, Bryant Fleming. Architectural elements from dismantled English manors, stylized gardens containing sculpture and mature plantings, and unimpeded views of the natural landscape created the illusion of age and exhibited European influence at Cheekwood.
Today, many of these elements remain. Period rooms within the house offer a glimpse of what life may have looked like for the Cheeks in the mid-1930s, complete with some original architectural elements, art, and decorative objects purchased by the family. Historic gardens including the Reflecting Pool, Swan Lawn, and Martin Boxwood Garden remain vital parts of Cheekwood’s built environment. The views beyond the Estate have been preserved through its shared border with Percy Warner Park.
Image: Aerial view of Cheekwood c. 1933
Collection of Cheekwood
Botanical Garden & Museum of Art Archives