Wednesday, September 15, 2010
'Avondale Farms', the Joseph Wright Harriman estate renovated by Sir Alfred C. Bossom c. 1918 in Brookville. Harriman, founder and president of Harriman National Bank (which became National Bank & Trust Co.), had purchased a c. 1910 Hoppin & Koen designed house for Philip W. Livermore named 'Bois Joli' and hired Bossom to design alterations. Bossom had arrived in America as an associate of George Crawley, the man behind 'Westbury House', the John S. Phipps estate in Old Westbury, and upon completion of that house stayed in New York. Joseph Harriman was a nephew of E.H. Harriman, financier and president of the Union Pacific Railroad. For over 20 years he was a member of the brokerage firm of Harriman & Co., founded by his father and uncle. He founded Harriman National Bank in 1912 and the bank was one of the few major institutions in New York that did not reopen following the bank holiday of 1933. The next day Harriman was arrested for falsifying bank records and misapplying bank funds in an effort to maintain the bank's stock price following the market crash. He attempted suicide twice during his trial and was eventually found guilty and sentenced to 4.5 years in federal prison, serving only 2. He lived the rest of his life in seclusion and died at the Sea Cliff Sanitarium in 1949 at the age of 82. The house was demolished c. 1950. Click HERE to see where 'Avondale Farms' stood on google earth.