In 1899, Captain James Frederick Oyster and his wife purchased the land and built a nine-bedroom Colonial Revival–style summer home, which they enjoyed until 1908, when they sold it to Charles Corby, a businessman whose machinery revolutionized the baking industry.
Following Mrs. Corby’s death in 1941, Filipino President Manuel Quezon used the mansion as a temporary headquarters during World War II. In 1943, the mansion—still fully furnished since the only possession the Corbys removed was their silver service—was
transferred to St. Mary’s Academy. The nuns there developed the property as a convent and school. In 1979, the county purchased the estate to use as an arts center, a lovely facility that includes indoor and outdoor venues that showcase world-class performers of folk, rock, blues, pop, rhythm and blues, jazz, and classical music.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and some Saturdays, the Strathmore Tearoom offers an exclusive tea service in conjunction with a tour of Strathmore’s historic mansion and with occasional guided tours of its current fine-art exhibition. As visitors savor Strathmore Blend Tea, specially made by Master Blender John Harney, local musicians fill the room with soothing sounds. A light lunch of toast points, quiche, scones, tea sandwiches, petit fours, fruits, and delectable savory treats is also served. Specialty and themed teas occur throughout the year and can be found on Strathmore’s online calendar.