Seth E Thomas was a pioneer of mass clock production. He started out in 1807. By 1925 his great grandson, Seth E Thomas Jr, had married into one of New Jersey’s finest families and the company had built the famous giant clock – now valued at between $10 and $20 million – that still graces Grand Central Station in New York City.
Seth E Thomas Jr had another passion besides clocks. He was a keen huntsman and built himself a house in the midst of the Spring Valley Hounds hunt country in and around Harding Township. Thomas established the hunt in 1915 and it still exists today as a drag hunt. He was particular about tradition and made sure that there was a room large enough for the annual hunt ball. Today this connection is still seen in the charming breakfast room that features a hunting scene around the walls.
Designed by architect Harrie T Lindeberg who had apprenticed with Stanford White at the leading New York firm of McKim Mead & White, Red Gate has now been subject to thorough renovation by the present owners who have shown a great degree of understanding and appreciation in this sympathetic project. The result is a warm, inviting and graceful house that reflects its origins but brings the property fully up to date.
I loved the period touches like the Art Deco detailing to the ceilings, the front-to-back entrance hall and the enormous butler’s pantry ideal for some large scale entertaining.
But perhaps just as impressive and agreeable are the grounds which extend to over 9 acres. These include wide sunny terraces, verandas for shaded contemplation, a very fine pool with pool house and a delightful English style and partly walled parterre garden leading from the ballroom – ideal for taking the air between dances.
All in all if you are house hunting in the highly sought after New Vernon estate, tally-ho!