Serving as the summer White House in 1925, this historic 28-room mansion known as “White Court” is joining the list of historic sites to be redeveloped. We’ve already seen the sale and re-purposing of the Patterson House in Washington, D. C., where President and First Lady Coolidge stayed during renovations to the official White House in May 1927 while welcoming Charles Lindbergh home from his 33.5 hour solo crossing of the Atlantic. Now get ready for “White Court” to become an age-restricted community of 18 condominiums.
While it is likely a happy occasion for the people of the Lyn, Massachusetts, area (some of whom helped buy the real estate for $2.7 million), to see this property returning to usefulness after the 2015 closure of Marion Court College (which previously utilized the house and grounds), it is not without an ample tinge of sadness. I say sadness because another piece of history is to give way to redevelopment. Not every place can be preserved nor every location remain as it was in a given time. If it could, most of this nation would look far different than it does today.
If places have memories as well, though, “White Court” has many stories that its walls, rooms, and corridors will soon be unable to tell in anything more than a disconnected, distant way. The spaces that once hosted these memories will continue to make new ones for new people but only by sacrificing what “White Court” once was, no longer able to share its original character and personality, how it looked and felt for people like the Coolidges (and many others), and so will join the silently yellowing footnotes of history, just another obscure entry from a world we no longer care to know.