The Gaard House, 33 Mead Street, c. 1932

Charles Frederick Neergaard and Alice LaForge Mead Neergaard

The Homestead (left) and Gaard House (right).  Mead Street runs between them.

Alice (1877-1961) was the 11th child of Sarah and George W. Mead.  She is buried in the Mead Family Cemetery.

Charles Neergaard (1875-1961) was a Yale classmate and roommate of Alice’s brother, David. She married Charles in 1902, and they settled in New York. Charles was an internationally known hospital architect and consultant in hospital planning.  His work frequently took them overseas to Europe. Devoted Anglophiles, they spent six weeks in England every summer and invited their English friends to visit Waccabuc.

Alice and Charles Neergaard

The Neergaards had no children but Gaard House was constantly filled with friends from far and near. The family referred to Alice as “Auntie Al”. They regularly opened the house to all Mead family members on Christmas Day each year for a large family dinner. They were deeply involved in social and charity work in New York and Waccabuc.  

Here is an excerpt from the June, 1946 “Mother’s Day” letter written by Emma Louise Mead.  By way of explanation:  each year the Mead’s celebrated the glue that held their family together – Sarah Frances Studwell Mead.  She was celebrated on Mother’s Day many years after she passed away – Mother’s Day, in this instance, being the anniversary of her wedding to George W. Mead in June 1858.  And each year a different Mead family member would summarize the year’s events of the family, both within and without Waccabuc:

“The Neergaards, as usual, were very active. The post-war need of hospital planning proved to be so acute that Uncle Charles has been busier than ever. He combined pleasure with business on three of these trips taking Auntie Al with him to Virginia Hot Springs, to Kentucky and to Miami.  From Miami, where Uncle Charles consulted on two new hospitals, they flew to Nassau were he had been called in by the Colonial Government of the Bahamas to plan two more hospitals.

Alice LaForge Mead as a debutante, 1899

Alice LaForge Mead as a debutante, 1899

Throughout the year, in addition to her work as chairman of the Real Estate Committee for Mead Property and as chairman of the committee in charge of the Sunday luncheons at the Club last summer, Auntie Al continues to carry on as chairman of the local branch of the District Nursing Association, with its accompanying responsibility of the Thrift Shop in South Salem, as Chairman of the Salvage Committee for the Town of Lewisboro, and as local chairman of the National War Fund Campaign last fall.  In addition to these local activities, she is an active member on the boards of the Westchester Cancer Committee, the Westchester Tuberculosis and Public Health Association and the Westchester Nursing Council.  And on top of all this, she finds time to spend one day a week at the Farm and Garden Shop in New York.”

Charles was an early advocate and vigorous supporter of building a central school in South Salem to replace the five one room school houses still in use in the late 1930s.  Alice was active in the Red Cross and distinguished herself mightily during the Second World War by her tireless work for the war effort.

Alice also owned The Homestead Farm across the street and built a cottage for a workman and his family.  The workman kept chickens and vegetable garden and cared for the purebred Irish Setters in the kennel which were Alice’s pride and joy. Charles owned the eponymous Neergaard's Homestead Farm, offering Baldwin, Northern Spry and Winesap apples and cider. 

Alice Neergaard lived in her house until her death in 1961.  She was devoted to the Mead Chapel and to the family.  

Alice Neergaard with one of her Irish setters


The Gaard House under construction, 1932

Aerial view of the Gaard House

Christmas dinner in the living room at the Gaard House.  The Neergaards hosted many a dinner; one year Coralie Mead Brooke described them as “….drinks, dinner, decorations, de-lovely.”