top of page


The first Wainwright emigrated to the U.S. in the 1780’s. Eventually settling in Rye, the Wainwright’s became one of Rye’s most influential families. John Howard Wainwright and his wife Margaret (a direct descendent of New York Gov. Peter Stuyvensant) bought Milton Point in 1864 and summered there with their sons, who later built houses along Stuyvesant Avenue. We now know these houses as Wainwright House, La Panetiere Restaurant and Coveleigh Club.

The youngest son, Colonel J. Mayhew Wainwright became a state assemblyman, state senator, U.S. congressman, Assistant Secretary of War, and a much-decorated lieutenant colonel in World War 1. When he was stationed in France, he was headquartered at an 18th century chateau called Raincheval, which came to have a big impact on him. On the eve before he was to lead his men to battle, he promised himself that if he came through the war alive and made it back to Rye, he would build a chateau resembling Raincheval on the family land on Milton Point. He did, completing Wainwright House in 1931. 

Col. and Mrs. Wainwright had only one child, a daughter named Fonrose. Fonrose married Philip Condict and lived in what is now known as Fonrose House until her death in 1983 at age 90. With no children of her own, she wanted to find a charitable and worthwhile purpose for WH as a memorial to her parents. In 1951, she created Wainwright House, Inc.,  with the belief that there should be a place under one roof where people from all backgrounds and beliefs and even no beliefs at all--could aspire to have a deeper understanding of others. ​

Deborah Walker Historical Tour on RYETV

Our History


Deborah Walker, Wainwright Board Member + Director of History, gave RYETV a private tour on our history and what we are today.

Deborah Walker Historical Tour on RYETV.
bottom of page