The History of
The Dane Estate
In 1891, “Roughwood” as it was first named, was built and owned by Major William Cox and is now known as The Dane Estate at Pine Manor College. The mansion was built along with two gatehouses, the stable, a barn, a greenhouse and chicken houses. In 1904, the Dane family purchased the estate and all its buildings, and over the years acquired additional land until the estate totaled 120 acres. A wing containing a music room was built in 1909, with the addition of an organ loft in 1916. Essentially, the property remained intact until it was acquired by Pine Manor College in 1962.
The estate was designed in the Richardson style of architecture, which is a freer interpretation of the Queen Anne or Old English style and was established in the United States by Henry Hobson Richardson near the end of the 19th century. Richardson, a Boston and later Brookline based architect, may be best known for his design of the Trinity Church in Boston. The large tower and turret were architectural variations introduced and popularized by Richardson in the 1870s and were functionally utilized with great originality.
A close friend of the Dane family, Professor James Arnold of Harvard University, who established and gave Boston the botanical park known as the Arnold Arboretum, oversaw the planting of shrubs and trees. The only major face-lifting of Roughwood took place in 1951 when the large, planted circle with its dirt and gravel drive was replaced by millstone and paved with cobblestone, which had been removed and discarded from Boston streets after having been used originally as ship ballast. This was necessitated by the demand for automobile parking in lieu of horse drawn carriages.
“About the Event Spaces”
The event spaces in the mansion are comprised of the Ferry Foyer, the Foyer Terrace, the Moncrief Library, the Music Room (Founder’s Hall) and Founders Lawn. As you arrive through the grand entrance of the Foyer, take a moment to observe the granite and red polished marble fireplace, dark oak paneling, carved and gilt detail and French doors leading to the terrace which have never been changed. Before heading into the Library, be sure to hang your coat in the hidden room to the right of the main entrance. At one time this room was used as a walk-in-safe, tucked securely behind the mahogany paneling, however it is now used as a coat room.
In the Library, you will be able to appreciate the original hand-crafted artistry, including the matchbook paneling of Circassian walnut on the walls and the high Moorish arcading along the ceiling. The majority of the books you see are actual books which made up the Dane family’s library.
As you leave the Library and walk towards the Music Room, make note of the glass-enclosed room to the right (the Ferry Conference Room) which was originally the billiard room. Just opposite this room, you may be able to find a hidden cabinet behind the paneling, which was used to hide alcohol during prohibition.
Your walk towards the Music Room is made dramatic by a hall flanked with columns which leads you out to onto a mezzanine and then to an ambassadorial staircase descending into the room. Although the original pipes still remain, the organ was donated as a gift to the Eliot Church in Newton Center after a disastrous fire destroyed the Church in 1956.