Resort Life, Chapter XXXIII: August – December 1967 Down East + Palm Beach + Naples + Virgin Islands

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Down East. Labor Day Weekend, 1967. Aboard Trailaway. Coxie and Granville Ernest Toogood with their son Granville Newbold Toogood. Both father and son were authors. A noted advertising executive ("Diamonds are forever"), Granville the Elder wrote Huntsman in the Sky. Published in 1930, the novel was said to have influenced James Michener to become a novelist. Granville the Younger became an executive motivational speaker and consultant, having written a series of self-help books, among them, The New Articulate Executive, The Creative Executive and The Inspired Executive. To the right of the flag, a partial view of George and Peggy Cheston's house.

By 1967, Brooke Astor had already made a name for herself.  Following her short-lived five-and-one-half year marriage to Vincent Astor, and his ensuing death in 1959, she spent the next more than four decades dispensing as much as $200 million.  As head of the Astor Foundation, she became New York’s most generous godmother. Having transformed herself from an interior decorator to a cultural connoisseur and philanthropist, what to wear for a birthday dinner at a Down East cottage was probably second nature, maybe either a Bill Blass or de la Renta style party dress and simply enough diamonds and pearls so she would still sparkle in the thickest Mt. Desert fog.

In addition to Brooke Astor’s cameo at George Garrett’s at-home birthday dinner in Northeast Harbor, Ellen Ordway’s camera and commentary take us to Palm Beach, Little Dix Bay, and Port Royal in Naples. This chapter include a look at Nick and Pat Symington Penniman’s new house,  news about Katharine “Kaa” Thompson Wood’s tragic murder in the upstairs bedroom of her “Chateau Country” estate, Elsie Woodward’s views on Society, and a visit with “Sister” Bingham, Jennie “Jane” Marston Adams Burgard Tibbett Bingham, at Bali Hai in Naples on Florida’s gulf coast.  The daughter of investment banker Edgar Lewis Marston and brother of financier Hunter Marston,  Jane Bingham’s marriage (her 3rd)  to Metropolitan Opera star Lawrence Tibbett once put her in the national spotlight.

August 1967
Northeast Harbor

“George Garrett’s Birthday Dinner Party”

The butler presents the birthday cake for George Garrett’s review.
Dolly Graves, Jim Norris, and Brooke Astor. That is the understated Mrs. Astor with the diamond earrings, pearl necklace, and various bracelets and rings.
Brooke Astor, left, at the head or foot of one of the dinner tables.
Tom Gates. Thomas S. Gates was a partner at Drexel and Company who President Eisenhower appointed as Secretary of Defense (1959-1961), having previously been Secretary of the Navy. Following his public service, Gates was president, chairman, and CEO of the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company.
Brooke Astor. “Brooke reads a poem she wrote for George’s birthday.”
Ethel Shields Darlington Garrett. “Ethel offers a toast.” In Northeast Harbor, the Garretts lived on Manchester Road across the street from Ellen Ordway. At Palm Beach, the Garretts resided on Regent Park. Their 1880s New Hampshire Avenue mansion in Washington was converted into The Swann House Bed & Breakfast. The George A. Garrett Papers (1947-1960) are housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin.

Northeast Harbor

Pamela Ordway and Andy Ordway (born 9 May 1967).
Bon appetit. Andy and Pamela chow down.

August 1967
Picnic on Pirate’s Point

“Lili Dale and Clare Wood get the lobsters in the pot.”
“The next generation.”
John Cochran and Nina Cooke Emlen.
George Harrison, Gussie Harrison, and Raggedy Ann.
George Harrison with Gussie, Gayle Jennings Abrams with Katie Jennings, and Andy.
Louise Grassi is the author of Wet Welded Together, a collection of her poems. Her marriage to Robert Whitney ended in divorce. After serving in the OSS, her father Ettore Howard Anthony Grassi assisted in the development of the CIA in 1951 and 1952. To her right, a portable hi-fi record player.

Picnic on Cranberry Island

Randy Frazer and Lucius Ordway Frazer with their step-mother Evelyn Allan Frazer.
Perkie Frazer and his second wife Evelyn Frazer.
“The way home.” Perkie Frazer and his son Lucius Ordway Frazer.
Northeast Harbor Swim Club.
Northeast Harbor Swim Club.
“Pattie and Nick Penniman’s divine new house.” Nicholas G. Penniman III was an attorney with Niles, Barton, and Wilmer. In Yemassee, South Carolina, the Pennimans owned Bonny Hall, a 2,000 acre plantation. Mrs. Penniman’s, nee Martha “Pat” Symington, first marriage to Arthur Douglas Foster resulted in divorce.
The Penniman house.
Gertrude Legendre and Pat Symington Penniman.

September 1967
Labor Day Weekend

Augusta Harrison.
George Harrison.
Marian Matthews and Billy Harrison.
“Coxie and Granville Toogood with their son Granny.”
Aboard Trailaway. “We join the Toogoods.”
Nancy Harris (with Flagler scions) “says Hi!”
Ned Grassi.
Aboard Jericho. Tom and Ann Gates with George and Ethel Garrett.
Aboard Jericho.
Nathalie Pierrepont with Jane Scott and Alice Madeira.
George and Peggy Cheston’s house. While George Cheston was a chip-off-the-old-block from the Philadelphia-on-the-Rocks set, Winifred “Peggy” Cheston was a member of a far broader social milieu. The daughter of Wesson and Winifred Dodge Seyburn, Peggy, who was actually named for her mother Winifred, was the granddaughter of automotive titan John Francis Dodge. Her marriages to John Braganza and Ed McIlvaine, son of the president of Bath Iron Works and director of Bethlehem Steel, ended in divorce. Her aunt Isabel Dodge Sloane was among the nation’s preeminent horse breeders. She and George Cheston married in 1955. “I loved that house,” said David Patrick Columbia, who visited the house during the 1990s. “It was very UNLIKE George Cheston but he went for it after Peggy saw it. There were five or six bedrooms in two separate wings (left and right), a swimming pool and that first section with the slanting roof was the living-dining room area,” added Columbia.

“News from here and there”

30 August 1967

Sister of Silk King Found Slain,” read banner headlines when society matron Katherine “Kaa” Thompson Wood was killed. Several months earlier, her brother James Thompson, the Silk King, mysteriously disappeared in Southeast Asia; he was never found. Jim Thompson’s life is the subject of several books. Kaa Wood was found beaten to death with her guard dogs, Mr. Magoo and Rumpus, at her side; her killer was never found. Adding to the tragedy and mystery, Kaa Wood’s son committed suicide four years later.

September 1967

Perkie and Evelyn Frazer with comedian Bob Hope and actor Jeffrey Hunter. Two years later, Hunter’s film career came to an unfortunate end when he fell down a flight of stairs and died from head injuries.

October 1967

Mr. and Mrs. Solon Kelley. Gloria Ordway, the former Mrs. Peter Ordway, marries Solon Kelley.
Reception invitation to announce the marriage of Solon and Gloria Kelley.
Baptism in Marbella for Peter and Bridget Ordway’s son John Richard Ordway.
A note describing the Ordway baptism in Marbella.
“Splitting Hare.” Suzy column about Sonny and Marylou’s visit with Channing Hare.
A glimpse of Elsie Woodward, by Eleanor Lambert. “I wouldn’t bother with Paris anymore …”
Mrs. T. Markoe Robertson (Cordelia Drexel Biddle Duke). Southampton, 1967.

October 1967

Villa Bel Tramonto
Palm Beach

“My new about-town car.”
Edith Taylor Huntington.
Jane Marvel Scott.
“Polly and Peter Reed come by for a visit.”
Lucille Lynn with Andy.
Howard Lynn.
Lucille Lynn.

“At the Brazilian docks …”

“Les and Aleka Armour arrive for a few days in their yacht.”
Les and Aleka Armour.
“Mrs. Hunt,” a guest of the Armours.

November 1967

Lilly Pulitzer, newspaper story by Eugenia Shepherd.
Ellen Glendinning Ordway at the opening of the Everglades Club golf clubhouse.

November 1967

“Jane and John Bingham come for dinner.” Ellen Ordway jaunts to Naples to visit with her son Robert “Rip” Frazer and his wife Jan Frazer.

John Bingham. In 1961, Bingham, described as a “Naples photographer,” married Jane Marston Adams Burgard Tibbett; their marriage (her 4th) ended in divorce.
John Bingham and Jan Frazer.
Robert “Rip” Frazer.
Jennie “Jane” Frances Marston Adams Burgard Tibbett Bingham. The daughter of tycoon Edgar Lewis Marston, a founder of president of Banc-america Blair & Company (that became Bank of America), Jane Bingham was Hunter Marston’s sister. After two brief marriages, in January 1932 she married famous Met Opera baritone and “talkie star” Lawrence Tibbett. They remained married for nearly 30 years. In her book, When Peacocks were Roasted and Mullets were Fried, local historian Doris Reynolds (“Jane and I were close friends for years.”) described Jane Bingham as “the Elsa Maxwell of Naples.”
Rip Frazer at the front door of Bali-Hai, Jane Bingham’s house in Naples. Sadly, many of Naples’ Midcentury Modern houses in Port Royal, several by Palm Beach architects, have been demolished.
Bali Hai, Naples.
Bali Hai, Naples. The pond.
Jane Marston Bingham at Bali Hai. “Sister Bingham.”

December 1967

Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda
British Virgin Islands (BVI)

Among the most secluded of the Caribbean resorts, Little Dix Bay is now the 5-star Rosewood Little Dix Bay. Ellen went for a brief visit in December 1967 to visit her granddaughter and friends. Ellen Ordway’s son-in-law Joel Jennings managed several properties for the RockResorts, a Rockefeller interest, and was working at Little Dix Bay, just 30 minutes by air from San Juan.

Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, BVI. Located about 15 minutes by air from St. Thomas, scenic Little Dix Bay is protected by a barrier reef.
“My room.”
View of Little Dix Bay resort.
Bruce Newman.
Vernon Johnson.
Kathy Johnson.
Jeannie Newman.
Joel Jennings.

December 1967
Palm Beach

Seminole Golf Club

Hunter Marston.
Augusta and George Harrison.
Betty Flower.
Brownie McLean portrait by Paul Pilon.

December 1967
Villa Bel Tramonto

Augusta Harrison, Susie Phipps Cochran, and Joel Jennings.
Jay Phipps Cochran, Angela Cochran, and Gussie Harrison try fishing for plastic fish in the swimming pool at Villa Bel Tramonto.
Augusta Harrison, Susie Phipps Cochran, and Bess McGrath.

Christmas 1967
Palm Beach

Randy Frazer at 16. “Christmas Honda.”
Christmas card. Bing Crosby and family.
Christmas card. Lulu and Ron Balcom. Klosters.
Christmas card. Sir Jocelyn Morton Lucas and Lady Thelma Lucas holding their Ilmer Sealyham terriers that Sir Jocelyn is credited with breeding. Pamela and Andy Ordway were bred by the Lucas kennel. Sir Jocelyn wrote numerous articles and books on dog breeding and sporting terriers.
Jimbo, Pamela, and Andy Ordway. “Waiting for Santa to fill their stockings.”

Next: Chapter XXXIV, Jupiter Island + Palm Beach + Medway Plantation + Wilmington

Ellen Glendinning Ordway Photograph Collection
courtesy of Gayle Abrams & Lucius Ordway Frazer.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of
Lost in Wonderland: Reflections on Palm Beach

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