To the editor:
How would Doris Duke feel about the potential demolition of her Mansion in Hillsborough? Recently I went to Newport, R.I., and was fortunate to visit Doris Duke’s mansion there called Rough Point. Doris Duke was all about preservation and she deliberately established the Newport Restoration Foundation to ensure that her Newport mansion and other properties in Newport were saved and preserved for future generations.
In fact, her foundation purchased and restored 83 properties there that are leased to tenants who serve as historic stewards of the properties, according to information supplied by the NRF.
Doris Duke, along with her NRF, also restored Prescott Farm and Whitehorne House, also in Newport. According to an NRF news release, the NRF “was the single most heavily-funded organization by Doris Duke personally over the years.“ Doris Duke’s intentions seem clear when it comes to how she felt about preserving historic properties. Her approach was to restore them and preserve them — not demolish them! It is fortunate that Duke set up the NRF as a separate independent charity to ensure that her wishes would be carried out. Otherwise, all of these historic buildings might have been knocked down, too.
As for concerns about the cost of mitigating asbestos in Duke’s Hillsborough mansion, publicly available papers from the Duke Estate identify that asbestos removal was an issue dealt with while Doris Duke was still alive in 1990. Clearly her approach to these kinds of problems encountered in her buildings was to take care of the problem. I believe the answer to the question of how Doris Duke would feel about her Hillsborough mansion being demolished would be that she would be appalled.
To the editor: