White Cliffs

WHITE CLIFFS — A Brief History
The White Cliffs mansion was completed in 1886 as a summer retreat for Daniel and Cynthia Wesson. It is located on a bluff overlooking the Old Boston Post Road and the Assabet River. When completed, the estate contained about 100 acres that included several fish ponds, large fountains, carriage ways, barns, employee housing and a very advanced water system that pumped water from Bartlett Pond to the estate. The mansion itself contained elaborate carvings, many stained glass windows, gas lit chandeliers, 17 fireplaces and 32 rooms. European craftsmen were brought in for the construction. It was said that each room was made of wood from a different part of the world with furniture to match.
Where did the money come from? Mr. Wesson was a VERY rich man due to the success of his Smith & Wesson firearms business. He was a very innovative inventor which allowed the company to prosper by continuing to improve their products and protect the designs with patents. By 1865 his reported income was $160,000 making him the wealthiest man in Springfield MA where he had his home and manufacturing facility.
Why Northborough? At the age of eighteen Mr. Wesson apprenticed under his brother who was a well known rifle manufacturer in Northborough. There he met his wife Cynthia Hawes. After the death of Cynthia’s parents she requested that they build a summer home partially on the land her parents owned.

NHS Virtual Program for Nov-Dec. The White Cliffs: Victorian Splendor in Northborough at the Turn of the Century – Video by Brian Smith. 1994 presentation given to the Northborough Historical Society. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xobrVe8N5FA

White Cliffs & Daniel Wesson
Overview November 23, 2014
Norm Corbin

Northboro historical material

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