The Percy Grainger HoMe and studio
Percy Grainger, born in Australia in 1882, was a renowned composer and pianist, a writer and watercolorist, a clothing designer and pioneering collector of folk songs. For forty years, from 1921 until his death in 1961, Grainger occupied the house at 7 Cromwell Place, White Plains, using it for his residence, practice studio, and laboratory for his avant-garde musical compositions and experimental music machines. The American Foursquare wood shingled house is the resource most significantly associated with Grainger in America.
historic house, built in 1893, and added to the National Register of
Historic Places on April 8, 1993, was originally the residence of David
Cromwell, banker and prominent local citizen. Cromwell served as
Westchester County Treasurer and Chief Officer of the then Village of
White Plains. He was president of several local banks, most notably the
Home Savings Bank.
Cromwell built the two streets which connect Maple Avenue and East Post Road. Chester Avenue, parallel and to the east of Cromwell Place, built and deeded to White Plains in 1891, was named for his son John Chester Cromwell. Chester later lived in a house there, which still stands behind the Percy Grainger House. He died in 1907, age 30, while fighting a fire on Main Street, only days after he was married.
Percy Grainger, and his mother, Rose, moved into 7 Cromwell Place in White Plains, New York in early May, 1921. At the time, the house was in a tree-filled neighborhood of gracious homes, and visitors entered after passing a generously shaded veranda. The idyllic home and lifestyle Grainger envisioned was short-lived as his mother fell to her death in New York City, an apparent suicide, in 1922. For several years, Percy avoided his home in White Plains as he traveled and performed around the world.
In 1926, returning from Australia, he met Ella Viola Brandelius-Ström. On August 9, 1928, he and Ella married on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl in California. They returned to White Plains and set up 7 Cromwell Place as their home base until Percy’s death thirty-five years later, in February 1961.
some of the Cromwells’ household items are stored on the third floor,
the Grainger House remains today furnished as it was during Grainger’s
lifetime, a dramatic living testimony to the life and times of a
multi-faceted genius. It is one of the cultural gems of Westchester
County and a site visited by a steady stream of musicians, historians
and students from all over the world.