Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'Manor House' Gardens

Two more pictures of the gardens at 'Manor House', the John Teele Pratt estate designed by Charles Platt c. 1909 in Glen Cove. Click HERE for more on 'Manor House' and HERE for more of the gardens.

Pictures from Architectural Record, 1921.


magnus said...

I know that I've said it before (the perogative of advancing age), but these photos of Manor House in its prime show how much more gracious and appropriate the house looked when closely surrounded by those magnificent Elm trees. Today, it has a stranded, monolithic appearance, its rather barren surroundings emphasizing its overblown size. And, of course, the entrance has been reconfigured as a "forecourt" with a stumpy, poured concrete fountain in the center.

By the way, Mrs. John Teele Pratt, the former Ruth Sears Baker, was the first Congresswoman elected from New York State. She was widowed in 1927 and was rumored, in the 1930's and 1940's to be the "girlfriend" of the very married Robert Moses who did so much- good and bad- for New York and its environs. The rather circuitous route of the Long Island Expressway, circumventing the esates of a number of plutocrats is attributed by some historians to Mrs. Pratt's influence on Moses.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Magnus, very interesting. I'll have to take another stab at Caro's thick biography of Moses--I've started it twice, and always lose attention a third of the way through. Sadly, if true about the circumvention, all it did was stay the execution a bit longer, and make it easier for the developers to get there...

As to those damned forecourts and those poured fountains, I'm going to remember that I'm a gentleman and not use any nasty swear words to give my opinion on them, which is that they are clucking fugly to say nothing of just gross and stupid, and I don't get what makes them so popular.

Sigh, I've been noticing a lot lately that 'improvements' on handsome old buildings rarely ever actually improve them. Some cakes don't need frosting.

magnus said...

DED- and other readers. I highly recommend the Caro biography of Moses. I read it first in college and later almost memorized the thing as a teaching assistant for the course in my junior year. It is a fascinating study of a man who did so much to shape modern New York- the good and the bad, and an equally fascinating study of fashions in urban planning, the good and the bad, during the 1940's-1960's.

Turner Pack Rats said...

whats really too bad about the loss of the elms (which made both houses and cityscapes look elegant and right) is that when they went most places replaced them with nothing. i mean, after all, they aren't the only tree in the forest and while maples aren't as statuesque or as perfectly shaped as elms, they would be better than bare ground. oaks, ash, even pines would be better than the deserts left by the loss of the elms. many city parks replaced them with low growing out of scale asian things whose claim to fame is they can take auto exhaust and not expire. a damn poor excuse and substitute if you ask me but then nobody did. i'd give them a piece of my mind if i could spare it.
still, this is one of my favorites for its sheer mass letting you know that whoever owned it was getting along just fine.

security word def - "horpr" - a promiscuous house cat (but aren't they all given the chance?)

lil' gay boy said...

The circuitous route of many Long Island roads has indeed been attributed to Moses, including the somewhat eponymous "Objector's Bend", where the Northern State Parkway turns south for a brief length near Glen Cove Road.

As for the elms, I seem to recall my grandmother (who belonged to a number of Long Island's horticultural societies), stating that Long Island was known for it fine Elm specimens, and many had hoped for Dutch Elm disease to pass so they could be replaced, particularly for the shape & size they grew into. The few attempts made resulted in more lost trees, and one either gave up or settled for a poor substitute.

Security word - dimenove: a cheap paperback fiction with the denouement cut off.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Follow-up to yesterdays post and a question for Magnus - The property for de Roulet/Payson - The old maps show Mrs. Henry Phipps as being land owner c. 1927. Then Joan Payson c. 1939. So property probably was a wedding gift??? Next door moving east was "Weekend" the Edward Harkness{Standard Oil}estate. It no longer stands; property now part of the North Hills Country Club.

Further east was "White Oak Farm' the Frederic Winthrop Allen{Chase Bank} estate. It too is gone but can be seen at HistoricAerials -

For Magnus - north of the Allen place and just below Kiluna Farm's Indoor Court stands this place -

Any insight? The Bing link shows a substantial house built in 1911. Old maps have name of Montgomery but I have nothing on that name. Thanks!

magnus said...


Here's my guess- One summer, during college, I worked for Mrs. Paley in the Dell Garden at Kiluna (designed by Russell Page, it was centered by the oval pond you see in the aerial). Kiluna Farm ran to Shelter Rock Road to the east, which is not apparent in the delineation seen on the aerial shot. There was an indoor tennis court at Kiluna, although I remember it's shape as rectangular as opposed to the crescent shape of the building in question. Nevertheless, it was in aproximately the area of the highlighted building, and I think they may be one in the same.

magnus said...

Woops- HPHS- I read your question too quickly. Off hand, i'm not sure, but I'll see what i can come up with.

Anonymous said...

Magnus- I have always been intrigued by Babe Paley. What was she like?