Wednesday, August 12, 2009

When 'Sunken Orchard' Was For Sale

A brochure advertising 'Sunken Orchard', originally the Fay Ingalls estate designed by George B. de Gersdorff c. 1914 in Oyster Bay Cove. Ingalls was a founding partner in the firm of Holter, Ingalls & Guthrie (Guthrie was the owner of 'Meudon' in Lattingtown). Innocenti & Webel designed the landscaping for Ingalls. The house was eventually sold to Charles E.F. McCann who had James O'Connor add a pool, playhouse and indoor tennis complex as well as having Annette Hoyt Flanders design French Gardens which in 1932 won the Gold Medal of the Architectural League. Click HERE to see 'Sunken Orchard' on google earth.

Click below to see 'Sunken Orchard' intact in a 1966 aerial shot.

Brochure courtesy of SPLIA.


Zach L. said...

The Playhouse was eventually purchased by William Woodward who would go on to have his head blown off by a shotgun wielded by his wife in 1955.

Anonymous said...

i thought it was pistol

Zach L. said...


Anonymous said...

I've been waiting forever for the airing of this story on TV. The Two Mrs. Greenvilles staring Claudette Colbert and Ann Margret from 1987.

Anonymous said...

Fay Ingalls was also one of the four sons of Melville E. Ingalls, railroad tycoon and associate of J.P. Morgan. Fay Ingalls and his wife sold Sunken Orchard in order to take over the Homestead Hotel in Hot Springs, Virgina, an important asset of the Ingalls family.

Anonymous said...

There is also a fascinating book about Billy and Ann Woodward. By Susan Braudy, the book is titled "This Crazy Thing Called Love." I believe it was published in 1992. If you can get hold of a copy, it is a great read.

By the way, Zach - this is a fantastic website. Thank you for your amazing work. From an old Manhasset girl.

Penelope Bianchi said...

A fantastic website indeed!
My prayers were answered!!!!!!!!!

Years ago; I went on a decorating (architecture and design) tour given by Sotheby's and organized by the wonderful Jessica Deuscht! (sp will correct! ) . One of our guides was the amazing Monica Randall. What a trip! She has lived in; snuck in, and, (thank God photographed) all of the fabulous houses on the "Gold Coast" for decades. If it were not for her; we would have no record of most of these astonishing places. She was a "trespasser"! She saw bulldozers demolish Tiffany light fixtures; sixteenth century statues and carvings.........horrifying waste of major art. Just demo derby............heartbreaking.
she also saw and talked to ghosts! And I believe every word!!!!!!

The speaker (who knows who lived where, under, over was related to............where bones are buried and who knew who) Is the human encyclopedia Barbara Cates. She lives in New York City. She was our guide!

I am still searching for some more classic houses I saw on that tour......LOTS of Greek keys!

Fascinating. I knew I had seen this before. I worship the sphinxes..........I want that to be my next house.


ps thanks for the blogpost.......and thanks to your followers.......I am becoming one!

Foxsong said...

I believe the Playhouse is the current site of the St. Pius Roman Catholic church.

John Cope said...

It is. I grew up in what was the garage house, next to the main house. My friends, the Sullivan boys and I picked raspberries a stones throw from the tennis court building, before the church bought it. The Sullivan's, a lovely family, lived in what was called the green house on the map. This was the mid 70s. The main house was occupied by a Mr Long, an old "millionare". My sisters were pals with a Martha Mckernan, whose family lived in the old barn. We used to swim in their pool. Mr long employed a Joe Hendrickson to keep up the property and take care of the horse stables. There were always horses, and chickens. Woke me up many days. They had collies, Mr Long's deceased wife had raised award winning collies. There was a kennel between the main house and my dad's. Joe Hendrickson lived down the dirt road by 25A. He had 2 boys, they were nice. My dad's house had the old garage attached to it, with accordion style doors. There was also a repair shop with an overhead crane and a pit that we kept covered with boards. The duck pond was called Larusso's pond in my day. The Larussos lived next door. They were quite nice. We neighborhood boys played ice hockey every year, after Mr Larusso drilled the ice, of course. Nobody went on the pond until he did that. Them were the rules. Above the pond and toward Berry Hill road was Pirkyl's hill. Great sledding in the snow. I was friendly with Bruce and Cathy Pirkyl. Bruce was a good athlete and Cathy was friendly and pretty.
Mr Longs fields stretched towards 25A. They always had horses in them. There was even a bridal path that went east, crossed Berry Hill road, and went back by Eastwoods School. I think it might have ended somewhere on the Shift estate.. There was also an apple orchard next to my Dad's house, past the pine trees, on Mr Long's property. The apple trees were nice, and seemed about as old as the ones in the sunken orchard.