As the storied Maine architect John Calvin Stevens’ brass cornerstone plate indicates, this is a special year for our beloved Hyde Mansion.
I often tell people that the Mansion is like a yacht. While we might never keep pace with the seemingly endless and evolving needs of its majestic grandeur, we keep trying. For example,
– Nearly 40 years ago when the entire main floor interior was gutted by fire, Joe Gauld (Founder) and Ed Legg (Head of School) brought in museum experts to redo the damaged area, just as it had always been, from chandeliers to the teak in the old library. (Most people are surprised to learn that the whole main floor is post-1975.);
– Twenty+- years ago, when the roof was nearing the end of its lifespan, we dutifully explored artificial slate substitutes before ultimately deciding to bite the bullet and do the whole thing in real slate, thereby ensuring a beautiful roof for another 80 years… (when it will become someone else’s problem!)
– A decade or so ago, we tore down the entire Sunken Garden and redid it from scratch all the way down to the original geodesic design of the brickwork.
The current issue staring us in the face — and this is not a development pitch — is the front fence along High Street. We need to do something, but we’re not sure what the best move is. We welcome your suggestions. (And don’t hesitate to have them be accompanied by your dollars!)
When it comes to the Mansion and maintenance, we often find ourselves asking a basic question: How much is ornamental space worth? It’s just one of Hyde’s ongoing essential questions.
So, Happy Birthday Mansion. We’ll keep striving to do right by you. After all, as anyone who has attended Hyde would agree, you’ve always done right by us.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld