The back patio, stretching from the rear of the house to the gorge, is newly shaded and newly paved with the 2015 renovation. The steel barrier fence against Cascadilla Gorge was installed in 2002, and extends down the path to the gazebo and out to the parking lot. The entire surface was paved with flagstones in 2015 thanks to Jim Sollecito '76, who arranged for its installation at a fraction of its cost. |
One of the less-inspired decisions of the previous owners of the house was to situate the house tennis courts on the Gorge side of the house; the number of tennis balls washed out to Cayuga Lake over the decades was mitigated only by the short playing season afforded by Ithaca's climate. The rest of the Gorge side of the house remained basically unimproved, aside from the wooden post fence. The 1956 renovation saw the tennis courts removed to allow space for the new dining room. Plans to install a patio area extending to the edge of the Gorge were postponed pending funding.
Around that time, the City of Ithaca was replacing its slate sidewalks with concrete, with the old stone being hauled off to the city dump. A group of brothers saw an opportunity. A team consisting of Pete “Swede” Saderholm, Carl Igelbrink, Bert Vonderahe, Charlie YB Way, Bruce Veghte, John Comstock, Curt Curtice, and Bill Fuller took it upon themselves to locate suitable slates and haul them back up to the house by trailer, a project which began in the spring of 1958 and extended into the fall.
The stonework endured for another half-century, but the wooden fence was a challenge to keep in good condition. In 2002, a proper steel barrier fence was installed extending the length of the patio and down the path to the gazebo.