Sunday, April 24, 2011

Maude Adams House located in The Convent of Our Lady of the Cenacle, Ronkonkoma, LI, NY

Happy Easter everyone.  It was so lovely today that we took a ride around the Island.  Rob had always wanted to find this house and, after gearing up our GPS stumbled upon the Maude Adams house. Located inside the Convent of Our Lady of the Cenacle, it is a retreat which is open to anyone who needs some space and quiet time away from our busy world.  
Maude Adams was a famous and very popular  actress in her day, simply known as "Maudie" to her fans. Ms. Adams was the highest paid performer earning one million dollars a year in her prime. She was the first woman in America to play Peter Pan at four different times, 1905, 1906, 1912 and 1915.  She also starred in another of Barrie's plays called The Little Minister in 1897, 1904 and 1916 in a role written especially for her.  For all you Somewhere in Time fans (along with the book Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson on which the film is based) the character of Elise McKenna, portrayed by  Jane Seymour, is based on Ms. Adams. Susan and Rob are big fans of both the film and sci fi novel.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah as Maude Ewing Adams Kiskadden on November 11, 1872, to a Mormon family, although Maude herself did not practice the faith. 
The house
Her father died when she was six, leaving Maude with her mother, an actress, who frequently carried her on stage in her arms.  Maude began her acting career at age five. Although described as shy,  she could appear dignified and refined at times.  She was known to help out young actresses and actors of her day with money from her own pocket. 
Ms. Adams made her New York City debut at 16 in The Paymaster after touring in California and Boston.
All told, she did twenty six plays before retiring in 1918 to a home in Ronkonkoma called Sandy Garth, which was originally built by the Smith's of Smithtown a decade earlier. 
Lake at the side of the house
In 1927, Maude Adams donated her 400 acre farm and estate to the Cenacle Sisters as a gift for the help she received from overcrowded St. Regis Cenacle in New York City after a breakdown in 1919. Maude Adams died in 1953 at her home in Tannersville, New York, but is buried at the Convent along with her friend and personal secretary, Ms. Louise Boynton.  Due to construction of a new retreat building, we did not go searching for the gravestone, however, I did borrow a picture which is below.   
 Here are some of the links that I found:

Wikipedia article

Image gallery of Maude Adams

Find a Grave where I borrowed the picture from.

Cenacle Sisters website:

Long Island Oddities website:

Article from the Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Association, 2008, regarding the Cenacle Sisters construction of new retreat house

 Here is an extended article about the film Somewhere in Time and how it relates to Maude Adams and Richard Matheson.  It's a very informative article with lots of quotes from the film and book.  Enjoy.


  1. Great blog, Clyde! I had never heard of Maude Adams until reading this. Really enjoyed learning about her...thanks!

  2. I had not heard of Maude Adams, either, nor have I seen Somewhere in Time, which sounds very interesting...I'll have to see it sometime. Thanks for another great blog!

  3. Hey Thanks I am related to Maude adams it sparked some interest

  4. Hey I am related to her also. I am going to visit her place. They say someone walks the halls of the house. Could it be her?

  5. The Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society Museum, 328 Hawkins Ave. Lake Ronkonkoma N.Y. 11779 phone 631-467-3152. The museum has an extensive Maude Adams collection, including some of Maude's props from her plays, items from her dresser, unseen Photo's,and rare books. Located just around the corner from Sandy Garth, Maude Adams home,where she is buried.