Jane and Jack Fitzpatrick
A Blantyre Window View
Jane Fitzpatrick developed her interest in history and preservation at an early age, when she saw her mother collect and restore antiques. Born and raised in Vermont, her New England roots are fundamental to her values especially the need to work hard to accomplish her goals.
When she married Jack Fitzpatrick, the couple shared a vision to preserve buildings. They started modestly with the restoration of a 1747 Cape Cod house in Whitman, Massachusetts. This was also where Jane started her new business, Country Curtains. Country Curtains began in 1956 with only one style - a ruffled, unbleached muslin curtain offered only by mail order. Jane remembers packing orders in boxes on her dining room table in the infancy of her business.
Eventually, Jane and Jack moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts where they restored another house and continued to operate their curtain business from that location. Things really changed for them when The Red Lion Inn went up for sale and they bought it. The Inn, which dates back to 1773, is an Historic Hotel of America and was immortalized in Norman Rockwell's renowned painting, "Main Street, Stockbridge." Today, The Red Lion Inn's porch is one of the most famous porches in the country.
Another chapter opened in the Fitzpatrick's lives in 1973, when Jack became a Massachusetts State Senator. After he left office in 1980, Jack and Jane embarked on another preservation project. This time it was a Gilded Age estate in Lenox, Massachusetts - Blantyre, a magnificent Tudor-style main building that included architectural features such as towers, turrets and gargoyles. Built at the turn of the century, it had been an exquisite residence, but by the 1920s, the Era had ended, hastened by the introduction of the income tax. So, too, ended a lifestyle that was never to be repeated, including a particularly debilitating period in the 1970s. Jane and Jack Fitzpatrick bought the property in 1980, determined to restore it to its former elegance. They reopened it as a country house hotel in 1981, after extensive renovation. With the addition of period furnishings, Jane and Jack gave visitors another glimpse into an earlier era.
The Fitzpatricks look back on their life and are proud to have been able to perpetuate New England history through these two properties. They have handed down their legacy to their daughters, Nancy and Ann, who continue their work and now operate the hotels. And as for Country Curtains, it has grown to include 24 stores at various locations and a very successful catalog business. Jane Fitzpatrick says, "We must all preserve historic landmarks and the property surrounding them for future generations to enjoy. By visiting these inns, which have been creatively restored by our family, we hope that our guests can truly experience the essence of America's past."
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