Wednesday, April 28, 2010

'Inisfada'

'Inisfada', the Nicholas Frederic Brady estate designed by John Torrey Windrim c. 1919 in North Hills with landscaping by the Olmsted Brothers, Samuel Parsons and Ferruccio Vitale. Brady was chairman of the board of New York Edison Company, a director at roughly 50 other companies and a leading Catholic layman in the country (enough so that the Pope, a close personal friend, sent him a message while Brady was on his deathbed in 1930). Following his father's death in 1913 Brady also became the head of Edison Electrical Illuminating Company of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company. Brady's wife, formerly Genevieve F. Garvan, was chairman of the board of the Girl Scouts of America. In 1937, Brady's widow donated the house to the Roman Catholic Church and 'Inisfada' is now known as the St. Ignatius Retreat House and is operated by the Jesuit Order. Click HERE to see 'Inisfada' on google earth and HERE for bing.  'Inisfada' was demolished in December 2013.




Click below to see 'Inisfada' in a 1966 aerial shot before the surrounding area was developed. Pictures from American Architect & Architecture, 1922.

20 comments:

Zach said...

And for anyone interested, the 68th Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan and Bush 1, Nicholas F. Brady, was the grandson of this N.F. Brady's brother James Cox Brady Sr.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this house for sale a few years ago?

The Down East Dilettante said...

Big. Very Big. But not the best example of its type.

Karena said...

Amazing property and the hisory is fascinating...

Karena
Art by Karena

Anonymous said...

Zach,

Mateyuna's book claims this was once the 4th largest residence in the US. Can you verify these claims?

Also, is it still holding that title?

Additionally, if they be true that would mean the 2nd and 4th largest private homes are on Long Island? What is the third?

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Inisfada is Gaelic for Long Island, apparently. For contemporary articles about the auction of the house's contents, see http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,848722,00.html and http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,930896,00.html. The Bradys were impressively devout Catholics, and Mr Brady was made a Papal duke in 1926, thanks to his generosity to the Catholic church. His widow married, as her second husband, Ireland's ambassador to the Vatican.

Jeff said...

I would like to see floor plans for this house. Anybody know of any to view?

Turner Pack Rats said...

well, its pretty overpowering what they did with the landscaping. i'd feel like i was surrounded and they were closing in. but a totally impressive house. great details and the embodiment of my ideal for buildings - if you're gonna spend, spend a lot
speaking of big houses, where does the hearst mansion fall - thats pretty big

security word def- "bulkedn" -description of many americans physical shape

The Down East Dilettante said...

I'm weighing in on this biggest house thing----there are a lot of houses of 75,000 sq ft. or more, and in truth, I don't think anyone has ever done a definitive enough study to say with absolute certainty which is biggest, second biggest, third biggest, etc etc. There are several houses in the US over 75,000 sq ft, like Biltmore (which shamelessly exaggerates its statistics for it's claim of biggest, although it still probably is). Some others of the biggest ever built are The Breakers at Newport, Shadowbrook at Lenox, Oheka at Syossett, The Stotesbury and Widener estates outside Philadelphia, Mar a Lago at Palm Beach, Hearst Castle, Shadow Lawn at West Long Branch NJ, etc etc. Those could well be the dozen biggest.

Anonymous said...

My belief was that at a time, the largest houses were as follows:
1. Biltmore House: 175,000 sq ft
2. OHEKA: 109,000 sq ft(originally)
3. Whitemarsh Hall: 105,000 sq ft
4. Inisfada: Est:90,000-95,000 sq ft

We did an estimate of inisfada's size on the ligoldcoast forum ounce.

I have actually been to inisfada and walked through, its a really magnificent house, really great interiors, my favorite part was actually the dark wood staircases at each end of the main part of the house.
-Kyle

The Down East Dilettante said...

The Breakers at Newport weighs in at 138,400 square feet, which puts it ahead of Oheka, all promotional publicity to the contrary.

Lynnewood Hall is generally considered to be 100-110,000 sq. ft, depending on what one reads.

I couldn't find square footage stats for Shadow Lawn, but with four main floor levels, and over 200 feet long it's a definite contender for the over 100 sq. ft club. I'd also bet Idle Hour is up there in the stats, also

Anonymous said...

I know they claim the Breakers at 138,400 if you take the tour, but honestly I've been through and spent time in 100,000 sq ft houses and really I just dont see the breakers being that much, I'd estimate it at more like 80 or 90 thousand. I just dont see it as that big sorry
-kyle

Pat said...

been to retreat at Innisfada in grammar school and, during high school, to a private family mass there (my aunt was a neighbor and friendly with the Jebbies who run it). two fond childhood memories and my first introduction to the real Gold Coast. thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

I love this house, would like to see the inside. Tried the web addies for Time Magazine none worked.

Anonymous said...

My grandfather, after being gassed in WW1, and developing several related ailments, found himself out of work, and losing his house in seacliff during the depression. He had 8 children.

He eventually went to inisfada and became the general maintenace manager, with his 8 children living in the small cottage that used to be on the premises. My mom and uncles/aunts have found memories growing up there. The priest were terrific to the family.

Nick said...

Are there any floor plans available online for this mansion?

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember Catherine Ormand? Her father was estate landscaper at St. ignaciuos. They were an incredibly gracious immigrant family who many Stepford mothers scorned as trash. Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

Are you am Ormand kid?

Anonymous said...

Be diligent about this house Zach, please. While it's not my favorite type of architecture, it may be threatened. Please look at the surrounding area on Google maps. Cookie cutter, cookie cutter, cookie cutter tract homes, right out of Edward Scissorhands.
My suspicion is that anyone paying nearly $50 million for such a property won't intend living there, rather they'd bulldoze the property and build yet more tract homes. This house is endangered and we may not realize it yet. - robert

LI Mansions said...

Been hearing rumors about this. Sad to see. I hope we don't lose another one. Will be doing an upcoming house tour. Hopefully won't be the last visit there.