Long Story

A magazine editor's hidden oasis

ne_lh_house2_rcheekPhoto: R. Cheek

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t may have only been their summer home, but Atlantic Monthly editor Ellery Sedgwick and his wife, Jill, spared no expense when they built Long Hill in 1916. Impressed by the Isaac Hill House in Charleston, South Carolina, the Sedgwicks copied the exterior and bought all of the original interior decoration from that 1802 mansion. But it is the gardens that are truly noteworthy, with 400 species of plants, including Japanese cherry trees, and imported Chinese gates and tile fences, with colorful walking trails around the property. Here the Sedgwicks entertained the likes of Robert Frost and Bertrand Russell. The Sedgwick clan began in America with Robert Sedgwick, first major general of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and includes Theodore Sedgwick, the first attorney to plead and win a case for the freedom of a black woman under the Massachusetts Bill of Rights; Warhol devotee Edie Sedgwick; writer John Sedgwick; and actress Kyra Sedgwick.

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Beverly is the birthplace of the American Navy, commemorated by a monument on Route 1A at the Salem-Beverly bridge, where the schooner Hannah sailed off to intercept British vessels in September, 1775. A month later, the outgunned Hannah was chased back into Beverly Harbor by a British ship, which was severely damaged from cannon fire from on shore in the first ocean-going naval engagement of the American Revolution.

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