20th-Century Country Elegance

Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens History

Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens is a signature example of an estate designed in “The Country Place” style. From about 1890 to 1930, wealthy Americans showcased their travels and taste by drawing inspiration from European garden design in order to transform their rural land holdings into summer retreats. The Stevens Family, one of the founding families of North Andover, acquired Ashdale Farm in 1729 and farmed the land for generations.  Helen Stevens inherited the property, and after her marriage to John Gardner Coolidge the property became their summer home. Around 1914, she and John began the decades-long transformation of the farm into an elegant agricultural estate.

John Gardner Coolidge was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson, a nephew of Isabella Stewart Gardner, and a member of the wealthy Boston elite. John served as a diplomat in Pretoria, Mexico, Nicaragua Europe and Asia. He and Helen filled their country house with art and furniture from their trips around the world. The house itself was re-designed in 1918 when the Coolidges hired preservation architect Joseph Everett Chandler to remodel the Italianate style home (originally two connected farmhouses) into the Colonial Revival style that stands today.

Helen and Chandler added the walled rose garden, greenhouse, serpentine brick wall and potager garden (or French vegetable garden) that exist today. Typical of The Country Place Era, the fields, orchard, and woodlands remained part of the working estate and served as a pastoral backdrop to the formal gardens.

In 1962 Helen Stevens Coolidge died. Wanting the property to be enjoyed by the public, she bequeathed Ashdale Farm to The Trustees of Reservations. It was renamed the Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens in to honor Helen and her husband. Additional land was acquired in later decades, and restoration efforts by The Trustees have been ongoing. For more information, visit the History tab on this webpage.

Visitors today can enjoy this peaceful outdoor “hidden gem” year-round.  They can also tour the Main House where Chinese porcelain and other Asian artifacts mingle with American furniture and American and European decorative arts. The entry hall mural was painted by Spanish artist Joseph Remidas. A dramatic split staircase, delft-tiled dining-room fireplace and tavern ballroom are also on display.

Please note: The Main House is currently not open to the public.

Learn More

Visit The Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens page for photos, information on admission, nearby events, directions, and more