The Solar House 1976.

The Solar house. 1976

141 Ocean Walk & Beach Hill Walk.

solar houseweb

 Before we became aware of the importance of recycling and the use of solar energy there was a home in the Pines that was ahead of it’s time. At the top of Beach Hill on the ocean here is the story:

Owner George Davison- Ackley commissioned architect Steve Robinson to design a solar powered home ahead of it’s time. The house at the time was a showcase for non polluting energy conserving systems. It solar heats the pool, and the sun is absorbed into the  Mexican tile in the home that then retains the heat during the winter months. The tiles can provide up to 80% of the heat to warm the house for one day in the winter. There was a gas back up system for when the temperature falls below 45 degrees. Wood burning stoves supply the rest of the heat.  It has a septic system that uses neither water or chemicals. It has a water recycling system  and there is even a solar cooling device. The sun also provided heat for the domestic hot water system. Water from a 225 gallon tank below the house is pumped up to the roof where it passes through a series of solar collectors and is heated.

Solar house 1977 on beach hill arcitect Steve Robinson owner George davison-Ackleyweb

 The home cost was $250,000. The sun plays a major part in providing energy to run the house. Take spatial heating for example. The house is designed in such a way that there are decks overhanging all glass doors and windows. In the summer when the sun is high in the sky, the decks block sunlight from reaching the interior of the house and thus prevent heat build up, but in the winter when the sun is lower in the sky, the sun’s rays come in under the decks to warm the inside of the house. The solar cooling system has a huge sheet metal duct called a solar vent inducer painted black to absorb sunlight it is attached to the side of the house. It is hollow and opens at the top, and the bottom opens up into small grilles in the living room.

Next to the living room is one of the bedrooms. In it are more grilles, but theses open up into the cellar of the house. The architect Steve Robinson explains “the sun heats up the duct and forces the hot air inside to rise. This creates sort of a vacuum at the bottom that which draws cooler air up from the cellar through the bedroom grilles and across the living room. The hotter is outside, the more air moves and the cooler it becomes inside. A Swedish waste system Clivus- Moltrom uses no water or chemicals on waste products. It gathers the waste in a tilted fiberglass tank underneath the house and lets bacteria take care of it. The bathrooms and kitchen were designed one on top of the other to use a single waste chute.

In 1981 the house and pool were used for the Pines Olympics.

It was sold to Peter Rogers the advertising executive who was instrumental in the famous ad campaign for Blackglama furs called ” What becomes a Legend most.”

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One of the most famous advertising campaigns of the 20th century began in 1968:  the series of full-page, black-and-white print ads for “Blackglama” furs, with the memorable, never-changing question: “What becomes a Legend most?”  (The “legend” was always capitalized.)


The story (as retold in the 1979 book, What Becomes a Legend Most? The Blackglama Story, by advertising exec Peter Rogers) goes that, in 1968, the Great Lakes Mink Association (GLMA), a group of about 400 mink ranchers, were looking around for an advertising firm that would help them “remodel public opinion,” though the notorious red-paint attacks on fur-wearing women were still a few years off.   New York ad executive Jane Trahey conceived the campaign and it was executed by her associate, Peter Rogers, who later bought out the firm and continued with the campaign.  The “Blackglama” brand name was invented by Trahey, who also came up with the “legend” tagline, and the idea of spotlighting high-profile celebrities, mostly from the movies and Broadway, swathed in a Blackglama mink garment (which they were allowed to take home after the shoot).  The initial Blackglama campaign was released in 1968; but it was Peter Rogers, who bought Trahey’s company in 1974, that evolved the campaign into its pop-culture status. He adroitly reestablished fur fashion advertising for the modern age, moving away from the traditional fur ads consisting mostly of women wearing fur in front of a Bentley or a Rolls Royce.


For the first five years (1968-72), the photographer was Richard Avedon, already one of the most sought-after fashion photographers in New York.  Five ads appeared in 1968.  The first was the sultry 1940s movie “legend” Lauren Bacall, followed by Greek movie star Melina Mercouri, and two other certifiably “legendary” Hollywood icons, Bette Davis and Judy Garland.  The one newcomer in the 1968 lineup was Barbra Streisand.   This was certainly Streisand’s year:  the movie version of Broadway starring vehicle Funny Girl debuted and would go on to become the biggest box office hit of 1968 (eclipsing even2001: A Space Odyssey), and would win her an Oscar in 1969.  The youthful (she was 26) Streisand, however, remained the exception for years in the “Legends” campaign, which generally featured “women of a certain age,” actresses and performers who were, to some extent, worshipped as icons:  Maria Callas, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Pearl Bailey, Lena Horne, Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Leontyne Price.  Eventually, a few men slipped in– Rudolph Nureyev, Ray Charles, Luciano Pavarotti.  In recent years, there has typically been just one “star” annually (e.g., Janet Jackson, Gisele Bundchen), and the “legendary” quotient has dropped considerably.


All stars pictured have spent time in the Pines.



A  frequent guest of Peter Rogers was actress Claudette Colbert. The only subject to be photographed twice. She was often seen on the deck, and in the community.


1971.                                                                            1989.

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