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Friday, September 28, 2018

PORTSMOUTH ABBEY '58 | Day 1, Lunch at Castle Hill Inn

Entrance to the Castle Hill Inn, showing sculpture
and distant boat. Looking out to the Atlantic
Ocean, left. Photo by JT Marlin.
NEWPORT, R.I., September 29, 2018–The Portsmouth Abbey School Class of 1958 (or Portsmouth Priory, as we were known then) has started celebrating its 60th Reunion.

Our classmates this year include one who came from as far away as Peru, just for the event. (Three sets of Peruvian parents got together and decided to send their sons to Portsmouth 65 years ago.)

Within the United States, the classmates have come from Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, several of us had lunch together at the Lawn at Castle Hill, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of Narragansett Bay.

This peninsula of Castle Hill went through several metamorphoses:
Castle Hill faces Jamestown's two main
islands.
  • It began as a watch house in 1740 when England declared war on Spain.
  • In 1810 a Spanish brig was wrecked near Castle Hill after a storm.
  • The present house was built in 1874 for the scientist Alexander Agassiz. 
  • Three years later he outfitted the house with an advanced laboratory. This lab was in due course replaced by the lab at Wood's Hole.
  • Agassiz made his fortune turning around a nonperforming copper mine in Michigan, and used $1.5 million of it to fund a Museum at Harvard.
  • Looking across from Castle Hill
    to Jamestown. Photo by JT Marlin.
  • In the hurricane of 1938, Castle Hill became an island. The daughter-in-law of Agassiz panicked about the experience and sold the property.
Thornton Wilder was a frequent guest, who said of the bedroom where he stayed:
"From that magical room I could see at night the beacons of six lighthouses and hear the booming and chiming of as many sea buoys." (Theophilus North, Harper & Row).
Getting a head start on the Portsmouth Reunion, four members of the Class of 1958 and two spouses assembled for lunch at the Castle Hill Inn.

The youngest-looking of the group, Carlos Cleary, is the son of a classmate who could not attend, George Cleary. He is in Venezuela and was unable to leave.

Lunch at the Castle Hill Inn. L to R: Alice Tepper Marlin, John Tepper Marlin,
John Hayes III, Denis Ambrose, Jeanne Geddes, Carlos Cleary.

Later in the afternoon, the group went to for a tour of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.