Friday, November 19, 2010

'Still House'

'Still House', the Paul D. Cravath estate designed by Bradley Delehanty c. 1920 in Matinecock. Click HERE to see the brochure from when 'Still House' was for sale and click HERE to see 'Still House' on google earth and HERE on bing.


Kevin said...

After three Veratons it seems Mr. Cravath found some peace in this "still" house (no pun intended). I wonder if the was a curse following him. Why would he move out of 6-year old Veraton III to build this house in 1920?

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Only guesses on my part - he preferred Federal over Georgian Revival - VeratonI was Georgian, VII Federal, VIII Georgian, and StillHse Federal, he lived out his life at StillHse - economics of running a smaller house, the two designs are at the opposite spectrum and I would think the upkeep was more intensive with the Georgian, he got a great offer to sell - he served as a diplomat during WWI and perhaps wanted a more quiet life.

The Ancient said...

Some people just like building new houses, new gardens, starting over.

BTW, this is an interesting summary of his professional life:

"Born in 1861, Cravath had a background typical of those men who would later form what has often been termed the foreign policy "Establishment". (14) Both his parents had strong liberal and religious principles. His father, Erastus Milo Cravath (183 3-1900), a Congregationalist minister who devoted his life to the cause of black education and eventually became the founding president of Tennessee's Fisk University, belonged to a militantly abolitionist Minnesota family which traced its American origins back to 1675; Anna, Paul's mother, came from a staunchly Quaker family who arrived in America in 1725, and herself graduated from Oberlin College in 1858. During his own career's first three decades their son, by contrast, singlemindedly concentrated virtually all his energies on building his law firm up into New York's premier legal institution, becoming the leader of those who turned the relatively easy-going, disorganized legal offices of the late nineteenth century into the "law factories"--huge firms divided into departments each employing several lawyers specializing in one particular branch of the law--of the twentieth, a transformation he spearheaded but in later years occasionally nostalgically regretted. (15) The "Cravath firm" became a nursery for the brightest young graduates of the great law schools, whom the somewhat humorless Cravath worked intensely, bullied ruthlessly, and guaranteed brilliant and lucrative careers. His law firm was divided into departments, where young associates specialized in particular areas of the law and worked intensively on specific cases. Cravath was the first New York lawyer to develop such methods into a regular graduate training programme. (16) Cravath, Swaine and Moore, "distinctly the counsel for the predatory rich", represented top United States investment banks and corporations. (17) Cravath's role in systematizing the American legal profession and creating the corporate institutions which soon came to dominate it typified the Progressive period's "search for order", the organizational impulse toward the establishment of systematic professional practices and bodies which represented one strand of the transformation of the United States into a large-scale, highly organized and bureaucratized urban and industrial society. (18)"

Got to love that "predatory rich."

More here:

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Follow-up to the Silvermore/Evermore question. Evermore was not Silvermore, Silvermore was Augustina. The photo from the Silvermore sales brochure was not the burnt out hulk of Jesse Livermore's home buts it's deconstruction for development sometime early 1940's. After being sold in 1933 it must have languished until the sale in 1940. All the new homes in the original boundaries were built in the 1940's. How it became mixed up that Silvermore/Augustina were the same I would say blame on the Realtors of the day. Augustina must have survived into the late 40's early 50's based on when the new homes were built on the Roesler property.

From the Great Neck Newsmagazine (published from 1974-1978)

"The showplace selected by Livermore as a summer home was known as Locust Lawn and had once been the property of a Senator Palmer of Michigan. The estate, in what is now the area of Locust Cove off Kings Point Road, comprised 13 acres with over a 500 foot frontage on Long Island Sound... For the $250,000 it cost to buy Locust Lawn, which he thereafter called 'Evermore", he was able to enjoy the weekend serenity of a house in the country. Certainly, no less important to him was the fact that he was now a neighbor of Wycoff, the Roesler family, the Chryslers, Harry Sinclair, and numerous others."

This essay was written by John Handler who was at the time the historian for the Village of Kings Point. Mr. Handler died about 2 years ago. Other points of confirmation from The Great Neck Library has text from a long time resident going house by house naming Livermore living next door to Roesler.
Here's more on Livermore

PBS documentry has daughter in-law of Livermore speaking about his life and connection to the Crash of 1929.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Further insight into why the South Shore declined from The Vanderbilts and the Gilded Age: Architectural Aspirations, 1879-1901 - First if you ignored this book because you thought you had read everything about them you would missing a great book. I was in that category not knowing this book focuses on the notable homes they built and the process of building them along with how the Vanderbilt's enjoyed them. Highly recommended!

Per the book - In 1863 William Nicoll, the local land baron whose family had been patentees since the 17th century, was forced to sell due to impending impoverishment. This opened up the land for the rich sportsman from NYC to acquire and build grand estates and form
The South Side Sportsman Club SSSC was a hunting and fishing association whose membership had "more wealth per member than any such club in the United States." It was established in 1866. After 1867 the railroads arrived and the SSSC became the favorite retreat of the nations movers and shakers. The decline is blamed on the clubs NO WOMEN policy - "If women are excluded from the wellsprings of an area's social cachet, its attraction to society, no matter how potent, will not last long." By the mid-1890's the trend setters had moved on to Newport and the North Shore. What do you think Magnus?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I can see how they came up with the name "Still-House". This home exudes peace and comfort. What I'd give for that library and study. I also love that iron work of the back patio. Happy to see the house still stands intact. Is the farm group still part of the property?

lil' gay boy said...

My understanding is this Veraton is reduced in size, having eliminated what appeared to be a very intriguing courtyard.

With that lovely whitewashed brick, simple allees, multiple wings creating hidden outdoor spaces, and simple wrought iron garden furniture, one can almost hear the gentle breeze blowing through the trees as the condensation on the iced lemonade pitcher slowly slides to the freshly laundered linen tablecloth.

Security word - domerph: little mythical blue creatures from Bensonhurst.

magnus said...

HPHS- Kudos for the work on Livermore-Evermore-Silvermore. All of this points out something that has long been a concern to me. Significant detective work is required to uncover facts and events of a relatively recent vintage. We are at the very tale end of the period when it is still possible to find the random person who still has first hand knowledge of many of these properties in their heydays. In another 5 years, there will be no-one left, and without memorializing things, the Livermore-Evermore-Silvermoe mystery might prove all but insoluble.

I have a copy of the Vanderbilt book which is indeed a gem, and I had read the description of the decline of the SSSC. I think the author is completely correct about the Club, but the entire area continued to thrive through the 1920's, becoming much more typically "resort like" and completely "co-educational", if you will, even if the Club itself remained resolutely all male.