Being in our final three weeks of living in Lexington, Massachusetts my husband and I seized a golden opportunity to tour the Charles Ponzi (of Ponzi Scheme fame) house that is just a few blocks away. Built in 1913, it’s one of the grandest estates in town, with an acre of gorgeous landscaping and an interior that has been lovingly maintained–having had only five owners.
Ponzi was busted just two months after moving in and the poor orignal seller, who took some kind of Ponzi scrip in the transaction, never got paid as a consequence. Ponzi’s wife got the benefit of living in the estate for three additional years, after having lavishly furnished it–until bankruptcy forced her out. (She later divorced Ponzi, who died penniless in Brazil.) There’s a great little history of them and the house here.
I wasn’t permitted to take interior photos but I had already grabbed a few detail shots before I learned that restriction. That’s no big deal as the estate happens to be up for sale–you can see a full range of interior shots here. The house being listed at $3.3M–there ought to be a lot of great documentation!
Truthfully, I found the current owners’ collections and art even more interesting than the house. I don’t like traditional furniture and room arrangements very much (when they are actually supposed to be modern homes), so I tend to focus on the art when I visit a period-piece type of abode.
I chatted with the current owners of the Ponzi house, who are taking on another restoration in a nearby town. The couple is currently living with just two card tables, four folding chairs, and a futon, while they leave this grand Lexington house virtually intact for prospective buyers to view. Since I am writing this post as a break from packing my own (far more modest) lifetime’s possessions, I would be tempted the sell the Ponzi House fully furnished, just to avoid the horrendous effort required to carefully remove so many priceless objects. But I guess people who own that kind of stuff can afford to hire a crew to pack it all up.
As for me, I am headed back to packing my own gear. In fact, below is a picture I took yesterday of ALL the various decorative tchotchkes we own. (Not counting our art on the walls, baby artifacts/kid art, flower vases/food service stuff, and my ridiculous 20+ linear feet of photo albums.)
This collection looks downright puny compared to our neighbors’. Phew.
Here is a prior blog post I wrote about packing up my Barbie collection. (I neglected to think of it when writing about our “stuff” above. It was already out of sight-out of mind.)