A Nickerson Tour1 comments
In some ways, Samuel M. Nickerson was a Chicago man. This is where he made his wealth, coming to the city in 1858 newly married and penniless after a dry goods business failed in the South. Thanks to his new father-in-law’s connection to the liquor distilling trade, Nickerson amassed his first fortune on Civil War Union Army contracts; then he presciently moved on before Temperance hit and became one of Chicago’s banking giants. But when he officially retired at around age 70, he left his marble palace and the city of big shoulders behind and went back to his real roots: Massachusetts. The Nickerson name is far stronger there, since Sam’s ancestor William Nickerson was one of the first English settlers to set foot on Cape Cod in the 1640s.
Like many moneyed or influential historic families, the Nickerson name lives on through buildings, library collections, and organizations out East. Since this mild winter has activated the travel bug in more than a few of us, a Nickerson-themed trip could be arranged.
…If you like yurt camping…
Nickerson State Park, a forested 1,900-acre preserve dotted with kettle ponds, is located mid-Cape along Route 6A in Brewster.
…If you root for the BU Terriers…
Boston University’s athletes play soccer and lacrosse on Nickerson Field, named for William E. Nickerson who was among the BU Board of Trustees when he donated the original field to the university.
…If you need a vacation getaway…
You can literally stay at one of Samuel M. Nickerson’s Cape Cod summer homes. It’s called The Mansion at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club now, and it bills itself as “a seaside retreat with 429 acres to satisfy your every whim.” (If you don’t feel Victorian enough playing golf on a Nicklaus-designed course, there’s croquet available on the lawn.) The site used to belong to Fieldstone Hall, built by Nickerson for his only son, Roland. After Fieldstone Hall burned down in 1906 and Roland died, legend has it, of heartache, Sam built a new one in its stead to live in with his widowed daughter-in-law until his death in 1914.
…If you’re a Nickerson, too…
Annual reunions in Chatham for descendents of the Nickersons, organized by the Nickerson Family Association, are dedicated to celebrating the original roots of the family tree: William and his wife Anne Nickerson. This September they’ll celebrate the 375th anniversary of William’s arrival in America with a pig roast on original Nickerson property.
August 15, 2014
Remaining Relevant: A look at Washington’s Fascinating House Museums
Washington's most fascinating house museums allow visitors to relive history. Most historical house museums today have successfully evolved with the times and have made great strides in historical preservation. These museums are thriving, boosted in part by advances in the field, as well as growing appreciation for preservation among the general public.
July 11, 2014
New York's Historic Carnegie Mansion: Renovated and Re-imagined
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Announces Dec. 12, 2014 Opening of Renovated Carnegie Mansion and Opening Exhibitions. Read more
Book Club: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Saturday, October 11
Discuss Gilded Age fiction, biography, and history with the authors and historians. Join us for a lively discussion of Oscar Wilde’s only published novel. Read more
Gypsy Jazz: Swing Gitan
Friday, October 17
Back by popular demand! Chicago's premiere gypsy-jazz band, Swing Gitan, led by Alfonso Ponticello returns to the Museum for an evening of foot-tappin' swing played on acoustic instruments in the 1930's-style music of guitarist Django Reinhardt. Read more
Nickerson Lecture: Gardens for a Beautiful America
Thursday, October 30
Gilded Age industrialism brought a new prosperity, but at the price of once pristine forests, rivers, and blue skies, devastated by continental railroad building and factory pollution. This lecture will explore the work of wealthy women and landscape architects to green America. Read more