Read all about Katharine's vision in the Fall / Winter 2017 issue of Southern Farm & Garden. On news stands now or subscribe online today!
In 1917, the year that Richard Joshua (R. J.) Reynolds, his wife Katharine, and their four children moved to Reynolda, their new country estate, the Twin City Sentinel published a feature article on the farm created there. “Reynolda is destined to become one of the great factors in the development of rural life, not only of Forsyth County but of the entire Piedmont section of North Carolina,” wrote the Winston-Salem newspaper. It was a visionary statement about a truly visionary place.
The Story of Reynolda House: R.J. Reynolds
Richard Joshua Reynolds, founder of the tobacco company that bears his name, was a key player in the industrialization of the New South. He established his own tobacco factory in Winston, North Carolina in 1875, eventually becoming enormously successful from the sale of Prince Albert tobacco and Camel cigarettes. He married Katharine Smith in 1905, and they had four children, Dick, Mary, Nancy, and Smith.
The Story of Reynolda House: The Estate
Katharine Smith Reynolds proved equal to her husband in drive and initiative. She played a dominant role in the planning of a self-sufficient estate just outside the city limits of Winston, for which she began acquiring land soon after her marriage. Working with architect Charles Barton Keen and landscape architect Thomas Sears, both nationally known, Katharine created a 60-room bungalow for her family, formal and informal gardens, a lake and other facilities for healthy recreation, a school, a model farm for demonstrating the most current farming and dairying practices, and a village to house workers.
The Story of Reynolda House: Today
Much of the original estate can still be explored today on foot. In addition to the house, twenty-eight of the original thirty buildings remain. To the west lie the restored formal gardens, noted for their Japanese cryptomeria and weeping cherry trees. The sixteen-acre lake behind the house has reverted to wetlands, which provide a home for a variety of wildlife. Many of the buildings in the village are now occupied by shops and restaurants. A short walk across the dam leads from the village to Wake Forest University built on land donated by Mary and Charlie Babcock. Reynolda House and Wake Forest University formally affiliated in 2002.
About Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is recognized as a rare gem among the nation’s cultural institutions. The museum presents an exceptional collection of art by America’s most noted artists in an incomparable setting: the 1917 country home of Katharine and Richard Joshua (R. J.) Reynolds. Spanning 250 years of painting, prints, sculpture, photography and video art, the collection has been guided with the prescient and unerring eye of Barbara Babcock Millhouse, granddaughter of Katharine and R. J. Reynolds. Highlights include important works by Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase, Frederic Edwin Church, Chuck Close, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Martin Johnson Heade, Lee Krasner, Georgia O’Keeffe, Nam June Paik, Martin Puryear, Gilbert Stuart, and Grant Wood. In addition to its collection of fine art, Reynolda House holds decorative arts and estate archive collections and mounts exhibitions from all periods in the 2005 Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing. Established in 1967 and now affiliated with Wake Forest University, the museum will mark two anniversaries in 2017—the 50th of its founding and the 100th of the completion of its estate—with major exhibitions and events. The complete Reynolda experience includes Reynolda Gardens, composed of formal gardens, walking trails and wetlands, and Reynolda Village, now an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants in many of the estate’s original buildings.
For more information, please visit reynoldahouse.org.