Sunday, April 11, 2010

'Rosemary Hall'

'Rosemary Hall', the Foxhall Parker Keene estate designed by Freeman & Hasselman c. 1902 in Old Westbury. Keene was a famous sportsman and polo player (ten-goal) and served as the captain of the American International Polo team in 1913. The Keene stable, Castleton Farm, located in Kentucky was widely known in thoroughbred racing. In 1907 their horses accounted for $400,000 in winnings. Keene never played in the 1913 International match as he had been thrown from his horse in practice and broke his collarbone. He had suffered a similar injury in 1905 when he crashed his car into a telegraph pole during that year's Vanderbilt Cup Race. A 1913 NYTimes article mentions that he had broken his collar bone four times. He had "twice been carried from the polo field for dead. He has had falls as an amateur steeplechase rider, been blown up from an automobile, nearly drowned on a sinking yacht, dragged by runaway horses and bitten by dogs". He retired in 1931 and moved to Canada to live with his sister, passing away in 1941. Click HERE to see 'Rosemary Hall' on google earth and HERE to see what 'Rosemary Hall' looks like today. Postcard from the Gary Lawrance collection.

6 comments:

Turner Pack Rats said...

the only kind of restrained architecture i'm fond of. this is imposing and elegant. kind of a mini-whitemarsh. sad to see the landscaping not attended to but that seems to be the trend in the ones saved. no olmsteads or farrands these days. didn't any of these geniuses know how to reproduce?

but on to the important part. we all have such boring names. ah - to go through life with the name of "Foxhall". its my opinion that at the age of 8, a child should be allowed to pick his own name. most of us would probably be called a far different name than what our parents drew out of a hat. my next door neighbors couldn't think of a name for one of their daughters. the father looked down at the table beside his wifes hospital bed and there was a box of tissue - brand name Venida. thats what they named her. i always wanted to be called "Montana" altho i think Dilletante is a great name too.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Somehow he's get connected to the dish Chicken-A-La-King{Keene}.

Zach said...

There's a funny NYTimes article from 1913 that details Keene's arrest for disorderly conduct outside the Hotel Astor. Keene was sitting in his car at 11PM when a cop noticed his car had a 1912 tag. He went over to give Keene a ticket and Keene refused to tell the cop his name. A crowd had gathered and people clearly recognized him as they began to chant "Foxhall Keene", "Foxhall Keene". Keene continued to refuse his name and he was arrested and brought to the West 47th St. station. Here he continued to refuse to give his name and gave the Lieutenant who was trying to record his information a very difficult time. He apparently did not want to give up his name for fear it would be "bandied by every newspaper in New York". He was sent over to night court and saw a judge around 1AM. He said something to the extent that he knew the police commissioner and threatened to have the cop who arrested him "broke". The judge responded that Keene was "not immune" and he was "surprised that a man of your standing should have acted as you did", at which point he was promptly found guilty and discharged.

Anonymous said...

When The New York Institute of Technology owned the property in the 1980's, they used it for student housing for their Computer Department. A friend who lived there invited me to dinner and we ate on the open porch which was about to fall down and the only thing holding it up was the wisteria. After dinner we all had fun swinging on a indoor swing suspended from the 3rd floor to the bottom of the grand staircase. With the front door open you could swing and see forever down to the expressway before all the new houses were built. It was close as you could get to a ruined Southern Plantation on Long Island. The house inside is much larger than it looks.

Judy Spinzia said...

There is considerable controversy among food historians as to the origins of "chicken a la king." Helen Duprey Bullock, as historical consultant for "The American Heritage Cookbook," notes that London's Claridge Hotel claims that a chef in their employ created the dish in 1881 for Foxhall's father James Robert Keene, of Lawrence, Long Island, when the senior Keene's horse, also named Foxhall, had won the Grand Prix in Paris. "The American Heritage Cookbook" also states that other well-substantiated stories place the dish's origin in Florida, at The Waldorf, and on Long Island. [The American Heritage Cookbook (New York: American Heritage Press, 1969), p. 56.]

Steven Gilbar says that the dish may have been created at Brooklyn's Brighton Beach Hotel in the early 1900s to honor the hotel's owner Clark King, Jr. [Steven Gilbar, Chicken a la King & the Buffalo Wing: Food Names and the People and Places That Inspired Them (Cincinnati: Writer's Digest Books, 2008), p. 28.]

Martha Barnette states that a chef at Delmonico's Restaurant may have created a dish of chicken in cream sauce with pimientos for Foxhall Keene and named it "Chicken a la Keene." The name of the dish later evolved, according to Barnette, into "chicken a la king." [Martha Barnette, Ladyfingers and Nun's Tummies (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), p. 98.]

Anonymous said...

My family lived there in the mid 70's when it was owned by NYIT. I was only 10 and it scared the heck out of me. We had full reign of the house and my bother along with a family of six kids used to play hide and seek. It was crazy. Like I said very scary for a young child. It was very broken down then so I can only imagine how worse it became as the years went on.