Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home, is located at 1005 Hildene Road in Manchester Center, Vermont. It was the former summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln.
The first time Robert visited Machester was in the summer of 1863 when he along with his brother Tad and mother decided to venture to the town to escape a Washington, DC heatwave. The house, built in the Georgian Revival style in 1905, sits on a 300-foot promontory overlooking the Battenkill Valley. Hildene is derived from the old English words for “hill” and “valley with stream.” Roughly half of the 412-acre estate is located at the valley’s lower level and includes meadows and wetlands. In 1907, a formal garden in the shape of a cathedral’s stained glass window was planted. A privet hedge defines the window pattern, which is filled with mixed borders of annual and perennial flowering plants that provide the multicolored “stained glass.” The garden is particularly well-known for its collection of over 1,000 herbaceous peonies.
The beautiful home was lived in by descendants of the Lincoln family until 1975. In 1978 the non-profit organization, the Friends of Hildene, purchased the property and began restoration of the house, outbuildings, and gardens. Hildene is furnished almost entirely with Lincoln family furniture and contains artifacts belonging to Robert Todd Lincoln and his parents. In 1908 an Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ was installed at a cost of $11,500. In 1980 the Friends of Hildene restored the organ.
Hildene is open daily year-round but is closed for major holidays. All guests must check-in and pay admission at the Welcome Center. General admission includes Self-Guided tours of Robert and Mary’s home, gardens, Hildene Farm, Pullman car Sunbeam, Dene Farm, and about 12 miles of walking trails.
Looking for more great spots to explore nearby? Check out the GoXplr Vermont Map at goxplr.com/map/vermont!
- Opened: 1905
- Original function: Summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood, and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln
- Architect(s): Shepley, Rutan, & Coolidge
- Year added to NRHP: 1977
- NRHP number: 77000095
- Status: Public
- Admission cost: Admission is $20.00 for adults, $5.00 Children. You can also get guided tours for $7.50 per person more and a wagon ride for $10.00 more.