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About 1040 Esplanade


Built in 1905 on land originally owned by the Black Family, this Classical Revival home has a symmetrical plan, emphasized by its hip roof and equally-spaced chimneys and prominent Palladian window.  Front and back centered porticos with Tuscan columns are carried through to the inside foyer where a dramatic, arched colonnade frames a grand staircase.  Burwell and Helena (nee Porteous) Crosthwaite made this their home from the late 1920s until 1964, hosting such community events as Christ Church bridge parties, a 1941 war relief effort to collect clothing for Great Britain and, after America entered the war, a drive to collect books for U.S. soldiers.  Mr. Burwell was an insurance broker and a member of the Yale Club, the American Yacht Club and the Turf & Field Club of Long Island.  (His father owned the Metropolitan Dredging Company, which dug the 40-foot "Ambrose Channel" into New York Harbor.)  Mrs. Burwell was a graduate of Smith College and held benefits for the school at the house.
Previously, it was for a short time the home of Edith Sessions Tupper, a trailblazing journalist, author, playwright and script writer.  A graduate of Vassar College, she was a correspondent for the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, adventuring to report on the burgeoning western part of the United States.  Her 1878 passport application at age 22 described her as 5 feet, 4 inches tall, with blue eyes, dark brown hair and a round full face, consistent with later drawings of her.  Her published books include By Whose Hand? (1889), Stuff of Dreams (1908), The Man from Headquarters (1905), Hearts Triumphant (1906) and The House of the Tolling Bell (which she later scripted to became a film, released in 1920).  She also wrote the scripts for the plays, Madame Betty (1901), Father John (1902), Smart Sinners (1903), The Captain's Heart (1904) and Nine Spades (1905) and in 1917, perhaps at 1040 Esplanade, authoried the silent film scripts for The Black Door, Birds of Prey, A Long Lane, Kidnapped, The White Trail and Taking Chances.