The following History Byte is the seventh of a nine-part series. Click here to read them all.
Thornton Wilder’s Seventh City in Theophilus North belongs “to those who never enter the front door of the house in which they live.” Wilder was referring to the army of people who worked at the mansions, ensuring that all ran seamlessly. The role of the estate gardener was particularly important and required great skill with landscaping and knowledge of horticulture that was often passed down through the generations. John Almeida, the head gardener at the Ledges recently passed away. He held this position from 1947 until retirement in 2014. John was born on the Ledges estate, where his father Jesse Almeida before him worked as the head gardener after immigrating to Newport from the Azores.
Image: Ocean drive, circa late 19th century. Three estates are visible in the background: the Ledges in the middle, with the Rocks to its left and Seafield to its right. NHS, P2746.