FREEDOM TO GO BACK IN TIME
The Mansion At Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club On Cape Cod
The Mansion at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club is an exquisite Victorian-style manse that
houses the Ocean Terrace, Bayzo's Pub, and gorgeous flexible wedding, meeting and public spaces.
The Mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, resembles an English country
manor with an eclectic blend of Renaissance Revival and Gothic themes.
Though the Mansion dates from 1912, its origin dates back years earlier to the original house on
the site, Fieldstone Hall, which was built in 1890 by Samuel Mayo Nickerson, a prominent local
figure with deep New England roots. Born in Chatham, Massachusetts in 1830, Nickerson is a descendant
of Puritan settlers who landed on the Cape in the 1600s. Nickerson left school at the age of 17,
and worked his way to Chicago where, by 1858, he had established a prosperous career as a distiller
of alcohol and high-wines. That same year, he married Matilda P. Crosby of Brewster, and the couple
gave birth to their only child, Roland, the following year. In 1863, Samuel co-founded the First
National Bank of Chicago. He became President four years later, and held the position for nearly a
quarter century before retiring as a multi-millionaire by 1891.
The pull of the Atlantic coast remained strong for Samuel, who returned frequently to the
Cape throughout his career. As the story goes, one morning in the late 1880s he stood on a
bluff in Brewster, jabbed his gold-tipped cane into the ground, and declared that a house
should be built there for his son Roland, on a 48-acre parcel overlooking Cape Cod Bay.
Fieldstone Hall was erected for Roland, his wife Addie, and their three children - Roland
Jr., Samuel, and Helen.
Finished in 1890, the three-story home boasted four chimneys, and the property included a
carriage house complete with a stone tower for taking in the expansive coastal views.
While never attaining the degree of success of his father, Roland became a very prominent
person in the Town of Brewster. The estate, which was said to have been staffed by nearly
two dozen servants, was the scene of frequent lavish parties thrown by the socially and
politically prominent Nickersons over the years. Guests included such luminaries as President
The era of grandeur came to an abrupt end on the morning of May 10, 1906 when Fieldstone
Hall inexplicably burned to the ground. A local newspaper account told that, as the house
was licked up by flames, Hon. Roland C. Nickerson, sick from heart ache, waved farewell
and circled around the scene in his automobile to safety." In the wake of the devastating
fire, some claim poor Roland drank himself to death. Along with the house, the fire also
claimed the family's wardrobe, rare old china, and a myriad of paintings and books. The
financial loss was tallied at $500,000 - $497,000 more than was covered by the Nickerson's
insurance policy. Undoubtedly agitated by the event, Roland succumbed to his poor health
just two weeks later.
Roland's wife Addie was devastated by her losses but determined. By 1907, she and Samuel
began construction of a new residence on Fieldstone Hall's original foundation. Sensitive
to his daughter-in-law's understandable fear of fire, Samuel built the house with steel
reinforced concrete covered by stucco to be nearly conflagration-proof. Years later, conferees
in the Mansion still comment on how sound proof the rooms were. We can thank Samuel and Addie
The new house was larger than Fieldstone Hall and included 16 rooms. All main bedrooms were
outfitted with Italian marble fireplaces, individual bathrooms and walk-in closets. Woodworkers
were brought over from Italy to create the fine woodwork carving on stairs, ceilings and interiors.
Today, the main entrance hall boasts an intricately carved oak staircase thanks to those
Italian artisans, and the porte-cochere entrance (now the Mansion reception area) was a
billiards room. Look at the ceiling and you'll notice the carved busts of Shakespearean
characters with their eyes toward the billiard players. It's been said that the room also
served as a roller-skating area for the Nickerson children and their friends.
Leaded glass windows and wide terraces overlooking the Bay added to the feeling of grandeur.
The old carriage house was re-faced in stucco to match the new Mansion. Smaller rooms on the
third floor housed the staff and an iron cage elevator was installed for ease of mobility
between floors. The work was completed by 1912, the same year Samuel's wife, Matilda died,
and just two years before Samuel passed away.
The Mansion remained in the Nickerson family until 1945, when it was sold to the LaSalette
religious order, which used it as a seminary. Corcoran Jennison purchased the property in
1980 and opened Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club in 1986.
Today the Mansion and Carriage house have been enhanced to befit their historic character;
including period furnishings and appropriate finishes to newly restored wood. There are 12
flexible meeting rooms throughout, with recent technological updates including a new executive
boardroom with state-of-the-art audio/visual electronics and ceiling-mounted equipment, plasma
screen TVs, and wireless Internet access (WiFi).
For more history Click here to view Cape Cod Compass