Walter, Ise, and Ati Gropius at the Sandy Pond House
Walter and Ise Gropius arrived in the United States in the spring of 1937, with little more than their furniture made in the workshops of the Bauhaus, their books, and office files. Their daughter Ati, twelve years old at the time, remained behind to finish out the school year. They immediately fell in love with the New England countryside and admired the landscape outside Cambridge and Boston and, in contrast to their apartments in Berlin and London, decided to live in more rural surroundings. They found a Colonial-style house to rent on Sandy Pond in Lincoln, Massachusetts, but the house did not suit their functional or aesthetic needs. Ise later wrote: "Our Bauhaus furniture looked indeed strange in the small rooms of this prim little house of Colonial style." New social connections inspired an extraordinary opportunity. Henry Shepley, an architect friend, approached philanthropist and patron of the arts Helen Storrow, and informed her that "the new German professor" at the Harvard School of Design was "desperate" to build a house for himself but was not in the financial position to do so. He suggested that she offer him a piece of land on her large estate, finance the house, and rent it to him so that they could "see what he might do." Mrs. Storrow, who was known to support hundreds of individuals and organizations, agreed almost immediately. Gropius, of course, accepted her generous offer.
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