About Joye Cottage - continued


            “Basically, it’s a book about Greg and 20 or so other patients who were given a limited amount of time to live and how they approached that time,” said Mr. Naifeh, who met Mr. Smith in 1973, when they were at Harvard Law School.  “Plus, it’s full of advice from 50 doctors about how patients can take advantage of the medical system, basically keeping themselves alive while waiting for a successful treatment.”

            It was Mr. Smith’s tumor and its perceived threat that led the couple to will Joye Cottage to the Julliard School, a bequest that was announced to the school’s board on April 9.  “We were worried about what might happen if it fell into less sympathetic hands than ours,” said Mr. Smith, an amateur pianist, who hopes Joye Cottage will one day be a musical version of Yaddo, the writer’s colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

            “Five or six musicians can play as loud as they want, anywhere in the house, and not be heard by one another.  And the ballroom would be great for performances that everybody in Aiken could come to.”

            Such a convivial future seems especially suited to Joye Cottage.  After all, it was built for hospitality.

            Once a boardinghouse-Joye was an early owner’s name, not a pun-it was acquired in 1986 by William C. Whitney, who remodeled it as a getaway for his family and friends.  A former Grover Cleveland Cabinet member turned shady New York financier (detractors called him the Grandee of Graft), he also put Aiken on the sporting map by installing its first polo field.            

            Whitney’s renovation may have been a roguish valentine to his second wife, Edith Randolph.  According to one story, Whitney, recently widowed, and Mrs. Randolph, then the beautiful widow of an English soldier, spent their first night together at Joye Cottage.  That rendezvous might explain why Whitney’s architect, George A. Freeman, integrated the poky old boardinghouse into the grander structure.

            Whatever the reason, Whitney was impatient:  that first Joye Cottage renovation, which increased the house’s size by 4,000 square feet, took only six weeks.  (Freeman erected Whitney’s rambling shingled getaway in Lenox, Mass., in a startling three weeks.)  The two front wings, connected to the main house by handsome colonnades, were added later.

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Courtyard pool

Courtyard pool and southwest wing

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