Friday, June 11, 2010

The Charles Steele Estate

A before and after shot of the Charles Steele estate, originally built for J.F.D. Lanier c. 1891 by James Brown Lord in Old Westbury. The above picture is of the Lanier residence before Steele's renovations and below is after the extensive alterations and landscaping. Click HERE for more on the Charles Steele estate.

Postcards from the Gary Lawrance collection.

25 comments:

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

I suspect the stable complex was still standing in 1966 based on the overhead shot. Just to the right of the new house you can clearly make out twin structures that match the originals square towers in the first postcard. In the renovation those appear to have been removed.

http://www.historicaerials.com/Default.aspx?poi=11448

Background information on Lanier -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=38.7352807&lon=-85.3847122&z=17&l=0&m=b&show=/8048/J-F-D-Lanier-Mansion-National-Historic-Landmark

Zach said...

HPHS-

That link you posted to the JFD Lanier Historic Landmark, that was this JFD Lanier's grandfather. His grandfather is credited with bringing the first Western railroad securities to Wall Street, bonds of the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad. He moved from Indiana in 1848 and founded Winslow, Lanier & Co. in 1849. They specialized in railroad securities.

This J.F.D. Lanier (the Old Westbury one) was born at 10 Fifth Avenue in 1858. He was one of the first members of the Meadow Brook Hunt Club and was also one of the pioneer auto drivers in the country.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Ok then - 3rd generation old money. Why did he sell to Steele? Such a family history having his grandfather called one of the most patriotic men in America. Did the grandson blow all the money?

The Ancient said...

10 Fifth Avenue would be the building in the center:

http://www.artsmia.org/mia/e_images/07/mia_7576e.jpg

Zach said...

The Ancient,

In my quest for an earlier picture of the Lanier place I came upon the same image you posted on the NYPL's Digital Gallery and they identify that row of houses as #'s 4, 6 and 8. 10 would be on the other side of 8th Street.

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=547052&imageID=1219157&word=greenwich%20village&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&total=184&num=20&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=27

Zach said...

Here's a picture of 10 Fifth, from a book I have called Fifth Avenue From Start to Finish, 1911:

The house is labeled Edison Co., I don't know the build date of the building but it's still standing. The ground level now has a Pain Quotidain restaurant.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4028/4691108202_b70e769f2b_b.jpg

The Down East Dilettante said...

Somewhere, somewhere, I have photos of the Laniers giving a party in the New York house, exceedingly elegant French interiors. So many files, so little time.

The Ancient said...

Zach --

I always forget the way the numbers run -- I started with the Johnston house at 8 and went up.

(Somewhere, I have a color picture of those same three buildings, taken some years earlier. The block was still filled with trees.)

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

To be fair and give full credit ChipSF I can't claim clever but a cheat sheet from O{F}LIer. A list sent to Zach and in-turn sent to me. 31 if I'm counting right with 3 yet tagged.
The first Webb playhouse in Woodbury -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.8112514&lon=-73.4831822&z=18&l=0&m=b

I can't tell from the historicaerial link - there's something{walls, fence?} just north of the current outside court that can be picked up on bing/googlearth. What you can see back to 1953 is a farm complex to the NW corner of the property. I was told house has been empty for years and is not open to the public.

Piping Rock Club had older indoor court but recently had new ones built in same location. Can be seen at Google Earth c. 2000.

Last one one the list is supposed to be at Manor House "Located in field South of existing outdoor courts{per my father}".

If everyone had their own courts the Country Club scene would be pretty dead. For those that didn't have the need for indoor courts they might have a fanciful "Rumpus Room" in the basement like FW Woolworth had at Winfield Hall. Or the Tiki Room at The Chimneys -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.8465409&lon=-73.7038422&z=15&l=0&m=b&show=/1866109/The-Chimneys

Someone had posted awhile back at the bravenet site it still had the lime green colors and jungle scenes written about in Monica Randal's book. Thats another subject of conversation!

Back to the tulips - I found a old catalog with the name Zandbergen Bros "Tulipdom" Oyster Bay. Apparently they were the-go-to people for the Pratt's and their massive plantings. The bits of info I've found shows all the big estates got their tulips and other spring bulbs from them. What struck me most was their claim that all their bulbs were grown in their own fields in Babylon, L.I. When was the last time L.I. had fields of Tulips under commercial production???? If you look now its wall to wall houses. Article was 1937. Can you still get Long Island Duckling anymore?

Interesting read about Peacock Point - scroll down to page 3.
The breakfast Room needs a professional critique. I love oval rooms!


http://books.google.com/books?id=AXAXAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA186&lpg=PA186&dq=the+architectural+review,+vol.+xii&source=bl&ots=U8c-n-lSXJ&sig=WjZVkXuHN5ULGKXv4xcHATAuNAY&hl=en&ei=UUMSTOS6HITANeiNyd8J&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Does anyone have a guess from my Memorial weekend trivia question -


After spending July at the seashore WHERE in August did the ladies of "Matinecock Point" and "Rosyln Hall" go and WHY??????

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.8985602&lon=-73.6409283&z=15&l=0&m=b&show=/4457033/Site-of-J-P-Morgan-Jr-mansion-Matinecock-Point


http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.793896&lon=-73.6331606&z=15&l=0&m=b&show=/1913132/Roslyn-Hall-Roslyn-House

The Ancient said...

HPHS --

At least some of them would go to the Adirondacks. (Uncas, The Ausable Club, etc.)

(Somewhere, I have a film reel of a little girl's birthday party at what I assume is Matinecock Point (c. 1933). It's outdoors in the garden, and the girls, seven or eight years old, are sitting at a round table. Each girl is wearing white gloves, and has a man in livery standing behind her.)

magnus said...

HPHS- Long Island can be blisteringly hot and horribly humid in August, so in pre-airconditioning days the answer probably was: "ANYWHERE COOL". Adirondacks were terribly popular (a number of the Pratts)as were, Maine and Canada. Even today, when the North Shore of Long Island is primarily a suburban community, those who can, take their vacations in August and vamoose.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Garvan went here-

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=43.7477851&lon=-74.600172&z=14&l=0&m=b&show=/3665046/Kamp-Kill-Kare

Morgan here -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=43.7477851&lon=-74.6002579&z=14&l=0&m=b&show=/3665064/Uncas

The super secret Camp Wonundra for Rockefeller -


http://wikimapia.org/#lat=44.3321983&lon=-74.0512848&z=11&l=0&m=s&tag=33667&show=/4081927/Camp-Wonundra-The-Point

Guggenheim -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=44.3081267&lon=-73.7155151&z=10&l=0&m=s&tag=33667&show=/3736373/Knollwood-Camp

M. Post -


http://wikimapia.org/#lat=44.4725012&lon=-74.3424225&z=11&l=0&m=s&tag=33667&show=/3532549/Hutridge-Camp-Topridge


Summer White House for C Coolidge -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=44.4725012&lon=-74.3424225&z=11&l=0&m=s&tag=33667&show=/3541060/White-Pine-Camp

Vanderbilt's -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=43.746297&lon=-74.7715759&z=11&l=0&m=s&tag=33667&show=/1028729/Great-Camp-Sagamore

To complete the story the reason WHY after spending July at the seashore the ladies could not return to the city with skin darkened by the sun and spray. By going to the Adirondacks toward the end of the season allowed them to regain their lily-white complexions.

magnus said...

HPHS- Great links, as always- and thanks for the Mona Bismark links the other day.

As for me, after spending July at the seashore, I usually spend August in the cellar. When the mold begins to grow I know that my lily- white complexion should have returned

magnus said...

And HPHS- I love your comment about the Zandbergen catalog- and the idea of all those tulips in Baylon. One of my "treasures" is a 1941 catalog for Trivetts, a seed firm that also evidently supplied many of the great estates. It is bound in black and gold (sadly, a rat had chewed the top corner edge off before I rescued it from the basement of an abandoned house) , lists a stupefying number and variety of items (at least 60 zinnias are listed and probably 100 snapdragos- greenhouse and outdoors), has backbreaking, labor hyper-intensive cultural instructions (their full page descrition of how to grow sweet Peas, provided to them by a Long Island client,begins with digging a two foot deep trench in the fall, filling it with manure and going on from there), and each page has tetimonials at the bottom all along the lines of: "We have never had delphiniums like them" signed John Smith, Superintendent/Head Gardener to Mrs. Muckety Muck. There are even a few note of poigancy, given the date of the catalog. Lilly of the valley, for greenhouse forcing, the catalog notes for instance, are no longer available "due to world conditions". And these "world conditions" would soon inalterably change the landscape that made a catalog like Trivetts, or the tulip fields of Babylon, possible.

Security word of the day: Segrano: An aperitif with a slight flavor of gin. Also good for clearing backed up drains and toilets.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Whats scary about some of the early catalogs are the chemicals that are advertised to clear your garden of those pesky bugs.

July at the seashore might mean tar ball with your clam bake this summer. I have big concerns about what this spill is going to do to our oceans!

Old (Former) Long Islander said...

HPHS,

Here's an another interesting tidbit from my Dad regarding the Pratt indoor tennis court at the Manor. (I didn't want to overload you with everything all at once). When it was torn down, presumably as a conservation measure in the early '40s, it was "recycled". Its components were used to reconstruct the building for use as a commercial property. For many years, it operated as an auto dealership, but now appears to be used as office space. If you view it on a Bing map, or other format which permits "Birdseye" view and 360 degree rotation, its familiar shape is unmistakable. Its current location: East side of Port Washington Boulevard, just North of Northern Boulevard (the big white building). I kid you not. There is probably some official way to verify this, but I am clueless as to how. Also, while we're on the subject of summer retreats, the Pratt family had a fishing camp located at Holmes Lake, New Brunswick, Canada. What an incredible place! Any of the former Grenville Baker Boys Club campers who were lucky enough to go would readily agree. Our eternal gratitude goes out to our gracious host, Sherman Pratt, whose generocity furnished so many boys with special memories and experiences.

OFLI

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

I used Google Street View and found the Pratt court is used as the service building for Port Motors, a Lincoln/Subaru dealership. Is the camp in Canada still around?

Old (Former) Long Islander said...

HPHS,

The camp is still around. The easiest way to find it is to go to "maps.google.com" and type in "Holmes Lake, New Brunswick, Canada". It is no longer available to the Boys Club, however, primarily due to a dramatic increase in fishing lease costs. The original deal was a rubber stamp ten year renewal for 15 miles of exclusive leases along the Miramichi River and surrounding lakes at a cost of only $1,000 per year. Then, at some point, the Provincial or Canadian Government got smart and opened it up to the public, much to the dismay of potential future generations of campers. The main camp sits on the peninsula in the middle of the lake. The "winter camp", where we stayed, was on the end of the lake adjacent to the main road (for lack of a better description). There were also several fishing cabins scattered about in remote locations. Everything was made of logs and stone (the only things they didn't have to truck in.) In its prime, I think there were about 63 separate structures at the camp. They even had a wooden decked tennis court. Also, note the air strip just up the road. It was too boulder strewn (frost heaves)to safely land a plane when we were there. There were piles of empty barrels once filled with airplane fuel (trucked in). The place was every bit as remarkable (in its way) as the Pratts' Long Island properties. At the turn of the century (I believe it was first begun in 1903), everything was done on a grand scale.

OFLI

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Great info - thanks so much for these stories! Someone created a wikipedia for Holmes Lake that includes pictures of the camp. The maps are very poor in this area - let me know where the true boundaries are. Is the airfield right?.

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=46.9504379&lon=-66.6001082&z=14&l=0&m=b


Manor House Indoor Court with link to new location.

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.8842492&lon=-73.6273402&z=18&l=0&m=b&show=/16562610/Location-of-Indoor-Tennis-Court

It might go thru alterations in the future - they have to get rid of the Mercury car logo thats been embedded into the street side facade.

Old (Former) Long Islander said...

HPHS,

The airfield is right, but the camp location is on the wrong side of Holmes Lake (nothing was up there except mosquitos, black flies and minges (small, but infamous). The infrastructure of the "main camp/lodge" is on the peninsula on the south side of the lake. Other outbuildings/service areas (e.g. pump house, saw mill, ice house, root cellar, etc., which probably are now in ruin), were scattered along the south shore of Holmes Lake in an easterly direction. On the east end of the lake, closer to the main road is the "winter camp". As to how much land the camp encompassed, and where the boundaries were, I'm not sure. It didn't really matter much because of the extensive fishing lease territory and the TOTAL lack of neighbors. Some fishing trips extended up to 15 miles from the base camp. I'm not even sure if the Pratt's owned the land on which the air strip sits or if it were some sort of collaboration. I'm surprised they didn't just use float planes (unless the strip was just a convenient way to haul in cargo). Your contributions to the website are impressive.

OFLI

Anonymous said...

Tulipdom was located on East side of Mill River Road. almost directly across from Remsens lane. Some of the buildings are still there.

J

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Tulipdom - was it a retail garden center or display garden? If you dig into the mynas files the Zandbergen name shows up. Looks like a farmhouse and a outbuilding or two still stand.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.8483244&lon=-73.5458681&z=19&l=0&m=b&show=/16566555/Tulipdom

Kelly Sinclair said...

Hello all,
My Oma (grandmother) grew up on the Zandbergen farm. She still tells me stories about how she had to dress up in traditional Dutch clothing for the tourists.

If anyone has any photos of the house (I don't know if the original is still standing or not), I would love to show them to her. Any other info would be appreciated, too.

Thanks!