Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Ruins of 'Longfields'

The ruins of 'Longfields', the William Payne Thompson Jr. estate designed by Carrere & Hastings c. 1910 in Old Westbury. While the house had been demolished some time ago there is still quite a bit left in the woods. Click HERE to see the brochure from when 'Longfields' was for sale which will give you a good reference point to what ruins you are looking at. Above is the garden level reflecting pool, below a statue niche.


The rear alleƩ looking towards the first level garden wall, and below a closeup of the first level wall.


Looking out over the rear from the top of the first level wall.

Above is the second level garden wall as it looks today and below as it looked in Thompson's time.



The front alleƩ.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Puts the leveling effects of the estate tax in a whole new light, doesn't it?

(When all this is excavated in two or four thousand years by Nigerian archaeologists, what will they conclude from it about the people who once lived here? That we were petulant children who tore things down as quickly as we built them? That there was some great natural disaster? That peasants with torches and pitchforks made short shrift of human vanity? All of the above?)

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I want that statue in the first photograph. How could I tuck that under my coat?

The Down East Dilettante said...

amusing to contemplate the archaeological question. When I was a kid, one of the great pastimes was to go over to Bar Harbor and explore the ruins of estates burned in the forest fire, many with statuary still strewn around also. Vandals soon took care of that, I regret to report. Nothing lasts untouched nowadays.

Turner Pack Rats said...

another puzzler - they ripped down what was a not huge house with evidently no plans to develop the lot - que??? it sold for practically nothing even in those long gone days. a real shame. great proportions both in and out and great landscaping and outbuildings to boot. that stable is perfect. the archeologists will never figure this one out as it makes no sense. did the second owner (clark?) die or just abandon it?
on a more practical note - did these folks have all there meals sent in as there is no kitchen on the floor plan, no servants quarters, etc.
also, i love the terraced landscaping with the allees of trees. is this all owned by some impoverished town now or what?

Zach said...

I believe Clark took the house down. His was right next door. The property all became SUNY Old Westbury and remains so today.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Why has Knollwood received so much abuse and this place has escaped the graffiti hoods?

Anonymous said...

Zach,
Any idea when this was torn down?

Zach said...

I don't have a specific date. I'd put the brochure in the late '30s/early '40s and it was gone by the time they took the 1966 aerial shot so somewhere in that window....not very helpful though.

Jess said...

When I was attending class at Old Westbury, we met on the road beside the ruins & walked over to check things out to write stories for class. It was really amazing to go & walk where there used to be a beautiful house and gardens. When I was there in '99, you could still see the layouts of the garden and there were actually lots of statues & structures still standing. Well, at least 4, which is a lot for a ruin. Thanks for these great photos!

Jess said...

I also have research that was done by a class in the 70s about who the Thompsons were & why their house was left abandoned. It's rudimentary at best, but it's information from 40 years ago shedding light on this home from people who possibly had actually seen it with people residing there. I literally pulled it out of a box last week!

Andrew Hans said...

I was there today 5/26/14 on a geocache hunt and the place is a wreck. Trees down all over the place and mother nature is quickly reclaiming the land. pretty awesome.