“We respect our ancestors’ achievements by standing on their shoulders and seeing farther, not by crouching in their shadows and seeing less.” – Donald Creighton
A Great Preservation Story
Robert Todd Lincoln built Hildene as a summer home at the turn of the 20th century. He was the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to maturity. Robert first visited Manchester as a young man in the summer of 1864 when he came to the Equinox Hotel with his mother and his brother Tad. He was so taken by the beauty of Vermont that some forty years later he returned to purchase 500 acres of land to build what he would call his ancestral home. At the time, Robert was president of the Pullman Company, the largest manufacturing corporation in the country.
The non-profit Friends of Hildene raised the money to purchase the estate in 1978 and began the long process of restoring the home and gardens. The formal gardens, designed as a birthday gift by Jesse Lincoln for her mother Mary, include many of the original plantings from 1907 and produce thousands of peony blooms each June.
Exhibits and the main house and gardens are open daily.
Large groups and bus tours are welcomed by reservation throughout the year.
Mary Lincoln Beckwith (Peggy) was the last Lincoln descendant to live at Hildene. She inherited Hildene in 1938 and lived there until her death in 1975. Her brother Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith (Bud) was the last direct Lincoln descendant and he died in 1985.
- Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865
- Mary Todd Lincoln 1818-1882
- Robert Todd Lincoln 1843-1926
- Mary Harlan Lincoln 1846-1937
- Mary (Mamie) Lincoln 1869-1938
- Abraham (Jack) Lincoln II 1873-1890
- Jessie Lincoln Beckwith Johnson Randolph, 1875-1948
- Lincoln Isham I892-1971
- Mary (Peggy) Lincoln Beckwith 1898-1975
- Robert Lincoln Beckwith 1904-1985
Did you know...
Robert accepted an appointment as Secretary of War and served from 1881 to 1885 under both Presidents Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.
Robert later served as Minister to the Court of Saint James’s (U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom) from 1889 to 1893 under President Benjamin Harrison and then returned to private practice as a lawyer.
He was general counsel for the Pullman Palace Car Company under George Pullman and was named as president after Pullman's death in 1897. In 1911, Robert Lincoln became chairman of the board until he stepped down in 1924, but remained on the board for two more years until his death at Hildene in 1926.