Cover image for If this house could talk-- : historic homes, extraordinary Americans
If this house could talk-- : historic homes, extraordinary Americans
Brownstein, Elizabeth Smith, 1930-
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 277 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E159 .B8927 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E159 .B8927 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Abraham Lincoln once remarked that "the strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people." Author Elizabeth Smith Brownstein, former Director of Research for the Emmy Award-winning series "Smithsonian World," proves him right and gives new meaning to the old saying "If these walls could talk..." In this book they do, and the stories they tell are fascinating.

The result of an intensive nationwide search that took the author across deserts and plains, into ghost towns, legendary mansions, and secret compartments, "If This House Could Talk."..opens the doors to some of America's most significant, surprising houses and to the lives of the extraordinary men and women whose stories they tell: from the only house in America with a throne room, where a doomed monarch ruled for just two years, to a beloved poet's simple New Hampshire farm; from a rare and remote plantation complex built by America's greatest architect to the multicolored mansion of an Indian chief; from the house of an innocent victim, of the Salem witch trials in 1692 to the only house our greatest president ever owned.

What stories lie hidden behind the gleamin

Author Notes

A graduate of Wellesley College and The London School of Economics, Elizabeth Smith Brownstein is a researcher, writer, and producer of cultural documentaries and public affairs programs. She is a member of the Society of Women Geographers and the National Press Club and a former president of the American Friends of The London School of Economics.

Table of Contents

How If This House Could Talk came to bep. viii
I Living in Art
Tlingit Clan House Wrangell, Alaskap. 2
Frank Lloyd Wright's Storer House and Auldbrass Plantation Hollywood, California / Yemassee, South Carolinap. 10
Greene and Greene's Gamble House Pasadena, Californiap. 20
The Robert Frost Farm Derry, New Hampshirep. 26
II George Washington Didn't Sleep Here
The Adams Family's Old House Quincy, Massachusettsp. 38
James Madison's Montpelier Orange, Virginiap. 52
Abraham Lincoln's House Springfield, Illinoisp. 62
III The Truth About Tara
Rosedown Plantation St. Francisville, Louisianap. 74
The Underground Railroad Houses of John Parker and Reverend John Rankin Ripley, Ohiop. 86
The Oaks of Booker T. Washington Tuskegee, Alabamap. 94
IV Forgotten Frontier
Wukoki Pueblo Wupatki National Monument, Arizonap. 104
Cherokee Chief Vann's House Chatsworth, Georgiap. 110
General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo's Petaluma Adobe Petaluma, Californiap. 118
Lorenzo Hubbell's House Hubbell Trading Post, Ganado, Arizonap. 128
V A Woman's Place
Rebecca Nurse Homestead Danvers, Massachusettsp. 138
Julia Morgan's Hearst Castle San Simeon, Californiap. 146
Eleanor Roosevelt's Val-Kill Cottage Hyde Park, New Yorkp. 156
VI Castles in the Sand
Biltmore Estate Asheville, North Carolinap. 166
Lower East Side Tenement Museum New York, New Yorkp. 176
Iolani Palace Honolulu, Hawai'ip. 186
VII Haunted Houses
Edgar Allan Poe's Cottage Bronx, New Yorkp. 198
Janet Sherlock Smith's South Pass Hotel South Pass City, Wyomingp. 208
Edward Gorey's House Yarmouth Port, Massachusettsp. 218
VIII Plain and Fantasy
Cedric Gibbons / Dolores Del Rio House Santa Monica, Californiap. 226
Vanna Venturi House Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniap. 234
The House for the Next Millennium, Exit 2000, United Expressway 21p. 240
Notesp. 248
Acknowledgmentsp. 263
Photo Creditsp. 266
Site Locations and Contactsp. 270
Indexp. 271