The property on which this estate in Manchester, Massachusetts sits was originally owned by the father of Richard Henry Dana, Jr., the author of Two Years Before the Mast. The estate was subdivided after the elder Dana's death in 1879. Gardiner Martin Lane purchased the land and had his brother-in-law, Raleigh Gildersleeve, design a large Georgian Colonial Revival summer house for him known as "The Chimneys." The Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm was hired in 1902 to help with the overall siting of the house and to plan a number of garden areas. During the next ten years, the Olmsted firm designed a number of areas including an approach road, formal terraced gardens, a water garden, and a variety of outdoor structures such as an arbor, tea house, and greenhouse.
Katharine Lane Weems (1899-1989), the daughter of Emma and Gardiner M. Lane, spent her childhood summers at "The Chimneys." She later attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and went on to specialize in sculpting animals. "The Chimneys" served as her principal studio after the stable was remodeled in 1930; later it became her primary residence. She married F. Carrington Weems in 1947 and published an autobiography, Odds Were Against Me, in 1985. She died at her family estate in 1989.
Correspondence, invoices, nursery and seed catalogs, estimates, planting plans, photocopies of blueprints, photographs, negatives, autochromes, and drawings relating to the gardens of The Chimneys, the home of Emma and Gardiner Martin Lane and their daughter Katharine Lane Weems in Manchester, Massachusetts. Also included are four garden journals (1903-1928), garden-related medals awarded to Emma Lane, index files of plant materials, photocopies of garden related library cards belonging to Gardiner M. Lane, and books. The collection also includes architectural plans, invoices and specifications from, and a framed photograph of, Raleigh C. Gildersleeve, architect of The Chimneys and uncle of Weems.
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Chimneys collection