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Presidential Recollections

After his first term in office (1885-1889), Grover Cleveland purchased an estate at Gray Gables on Buzzards Bay. He named the grey-shingled estate Tudor Haven, which became the Summer White House when he served as president again (1893-1897) In an article in the May 1925 edition of Cape Cod Magazine”, C.W.W.” remembers Cleveland as a president who local residents considered a neighbor who was good humored and unpretentious:

“Grover Cleveland endeared himself to the Cape folks immediately and lastingly. This much is evident from the tone of reminiscences, narrated to me by a number of citizens in Bourne and Sandwich of sufficient years to remember him. If for no other reason, the fact that he liked fishing to the extent of braving all sorts of weather was enough to establish him solidly in the hearts of these people who dig quahaugs in their front yards and catch bass out back. And they still recall that he disliked to be hailed “Mr. President,” but insisted upon being called Grover or Mr. Cleveland.

Gray Gables, as Mr. Cleveland soon renamed Tudor Haven, viewed today hardly seems to possess the sumptuousness which appeal to presidents of recent administrations. But its location, for beauty and quiet and sea breezes, would be hard to duplicate anywhere else in New England. The house of many angles, greyed by passing seasons rests far out on a low promontory jutting into the waters of Buzzards Bay. Across the bay gleams white what· appears to be a more elegant residence that of the late General Taylor owner of The Boston Globe. The New York boat passes within a stone’s throw of the house, on its way through the canal.

The Boston Globe once asked Mr. Cleveland, soon after his coming to the Cape, why he chose Buzzards Bay.

He answered as follows:

Gray Gables, Buzzards Bay, MA July 28, 1892

To the Editor of the Globe:

I suppose the inquiry addressed to me will be well answered if I state in a few words why I have established a summer home at Buzzards Bay, and what advantages and beauties attracted me he re. I come to Buzzards Bay to spend my vacation because of all places within my knowledge it is the most comfortable and convenient. So far as my location is concerned extreme summer heat is unknown. Boating and bathing are all that could possibly be desired, and the drives about me are full of interest. The fishing which to me is a most important consideration, is excellent. All manner of sea fishing is near at hand and when one tires of that he has but to turn his back to the sea and within easy reach are numerous fresh water ponds where all sorts of fresh water fishing is to be had.

I like my residence too, because my neighbors are of that independent sort who are not obtrusively curious. I have but to behave myself and pay my taxes to be treated like any other citizen of the United States.

Very truly, [Grover Cleveland)



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