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The ‘last gentleman’ of Wall Street’s legacy of historic homes

Millford House in Pinewood, South Carolina

In a 1984 profile in the New York Times, Richard H. Jenrette was said to have been the “last gentleman of Wall Street.” This moniker stemmed primarily from the “courtly” demeanor he displayed throughout his professional life in insurance and investments but that also extended into his personal life. This courtly demeanor was perhaps expressed most notably in his lasting legacy of historic homes he purchased, restored and renovated before establishing a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving them for future generations. The Classical American Homes Preservation Trust (together with the Richard Hampton Jenrette Foundation) stand as lasting tributes to Mr. Jenrette’s “lifetime hobby”—refined taste and extraordinary generosity as expressed through his admiration and care for a dazzling collection of historic American houses.

The homes currently owned by the Trust include Ayr Mount in Pinewood, NC, Millford in Pinewood, SC (above), Roper House in Charleston, SC, Estate Cane Garden on the island of St. Crois, USVI, George F. Baker Houses in New York City, and Edgewater in Barrytown, NY. In establishing the Trust, Jenrette acknowledged the challenges in maintaining historic houses as “museums” for the public, open only during standard hours and with limited programming of docent-led tours. Thus, he set out to ensure his legacy of historic homes would provide “fun” experiences for the public to enjoy. In fact, that is why he established his own Trust, in 1993, 25 years before his death in April of this year. (The image above of Millford, by Jack Boucher (unknown date), is in the public domain.)


Richard Jenrette, 89, Wall St. Power and Preserver of Homes, Dies

By Robert D. Hershey, Jr.

The New York Times

April 23, 2018

Wall Street’s last gentleman: Richard Jenrette; Forging the Equitable Collection

By Leslie Wayne

The New York Times

November 18, 1984

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