Boxwood Court when the Redfields owned it in the early 1900s
James Walker Tufts founded Pinehurst, North Carolina in the late 19th century with the vision of creating a health resort and an ideal community. Tufts was a successful businessman and philanthropist who made his fortune in the manufacturing and sale of patent medicines, most notably Paine's Celery Compound.
Tufts was inspired by the natural beauty and climate of the Sandhills region of North Carolina. He believed that the area's mild climate and pine-scented air could have significant health benefits. Tufts envisioned a place where people could escape the polluted cities and enjoy the therapeutic qualities of the environment.
In 1895, Tufts purchased a large tract of land in the Sandhills and began developing Pinehurst. He hired Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape architect who designed New York City's Central Park, to create a master plan for the community. Olmsted's plan included wide streets, spacious parks, and a network of paths and trails that blended seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
Tufts also built the Pinehurst Resort, a luxurious hotel and golf resort, to attract visitors to the area. Golf was gaining popularity at the time, and Tufts recognized the sport's potential as a draw for tourists. He hired renowned golf course designer Donald Ross to create several golf courses in Pinehurst, including the famous Pinehurst No. 2 course.
Pinehurst quickly became a popular destination for wealthy northerners seeking a retreat from the cold winters and a place to improve their health. Tufts' vision of a health resort and an ideal community was realized as Pinehurst grew and thrived. Today, Pinehurst remains a world-class golf destination and a charming community known for its natural beauty and Southern hospitality.
Lydia and her son Oliver
Tyler L. Redfield owned a large publishing company in New York and would come here to winter with his wife Lydia and her children. Lydia had two previous husbands who died young. She had two children with her first husband, who died of complications from appendicitis. She then married her second husband, Oliver Howard Story but tragically Oliver died of tuberculosis 3 months after their son, also called Oliver, was born. Lydia then married Tyler Redfield and he adopted Oliver, who became Oliver Story Redfield. The Redfields built Boxwood Court on land that Tyler had purchased in 1901, in the early years of the Pinehurst development. Boxwood Court was the first house to be built on the newly developing west side of Beulah Hill Road in 1909 a year after Lydia and Tyler Redfield were married. Lydia was very active in the Pinehurst social scene as the local clippings to the right show. Tyler Redfield died in 1922 and Lydia died in 1926. The house was subsequently sold to Eldridge Reeves Johnson in 1929
Eldridge Reeves Johnson
Eldridge Reeves Johnson (February 6, 1867 – November 14, 1945) was an American businessman and engineer who founded the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901 and built it into the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records and one of the leading phonograph companies in the world at the time. Victor was the corporate predecessor of RCA Records.
Johnson was born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1867. He attended the University of Delaware, where he studied engineering. After graduating from college, Johnson worked as a machinist for the Berliner Gramophone Company. In 1898, he left the Berliner Gramophone Company to start his own business, the Johnson Motor Company. The Johnson Motor Company produced automobiles and motorcycles.
In 1901, Johnson founded the Victor Talking Machine Company. The Victor Talking Machine Company was a pioneer in the development of the phonograph. The company produced a number of innovative phonographs, including the Victrola, which was one of the most popular phonographs of the early 20th century.
Under Johnson's leadership, the Victor Talking Machine Company became the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records. The company also produced a number of popular recordings, including the recordings of Enrico Caruso, who was one of the most famous opera singers of the early 20th century.
In 1926, Johnson sold the Victor Talking Machine Company to two banking firms. The company was then merged with the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1929. Johnson remained with RCA after the merger, and he served as a vice president of the company until his retirement in 1933.
Johnson was a visionary businessman who helped to shape the early phonograph industry. He was also a philanthropist who donated money to a number of educational and charitable organizations. Johnson died in 1945 at the age of 78.
An early Victor design
Life in Pinehurst
Eldridge and his wife Elsie had been wintering in Pinehurst for many years when they leased Box Court. He was a passionate car racing enthusiast and the founding member of the Eldridge Johnson Racing Association in Pinehurst, which was founded in 1904. The association's track was located near the clubhouse and was one of the first automobile racing tracks in the United States. The track was used for races until 1912, when it was closed due to safety concerns.
He was a supporter of the Pinehurst Resort, and he donated money to the town's library and hospital.
In 1926, Johnson donated land to the Pinehurst Resort for the construction of a new clubhouse. The clubhouse was named the Eldridge Johnson RAC Victor Head in his honor. The clubhouse is now a historic landmark and is open to the public for tours.
Johnson's association with Pinehurst is a reminder of his important role in the development of the town. He was a successful businessman and a philanthropist, and he helped to make Pinehurst a popular resort destination.
Upon his death in 1945 the house went to his wife Elsie. Elise kept Box Court until her death in 1961.