Monday, February 21, 2011

When 'Kidd's Rocks'/'Lands End' Was For Sale

A brochure advertising 'Kidd's Rocks'/'Lands End', built for John Scott Browning Sr. c. 1911 and purchased in 1921 by Malcolm Douglas Sloane. Sloane was the brother in law of James A. Burden who resided at 'Woodside' in Muttontown. After Sloane died his wife remarried and renamed the estate 'Keewaydin'. In 1929 the estate was sold to Herbert Bayard Swope, the pulitzer prize winning journalist. After passing through a handful of additional owners the house was purchased in 1983 by Charles Shipman Payson, who gave it the name 'Lands End'. Sold again in 2004, the house had recently been on the market for some time asking $30,000,000, with subdivision approvals. It was unable to find a buyer and was set to be demolished this year (UPDATE: has since been demolished as of April 2011). Click HERE to see the estate on google earth and HERE on bing. Click HERE to see photos of the house in a dilapidated state by photographer Jen Ross.



Brochure courtesy of SPLIA.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Someone should quickly remove the Chinese paper and the Parquet De Versailes from the dining room and living room floors before its too late. They could be restored and sold for a hefty price.

The Devoted Classicist said...

Although I might change my mind if I visited the site, but I think I would be really bothered by the placement of the Pool House.

The Ancient said...

Jen Ross's pictures are haunting.

DC --

If you have the money to restore that place, moving the pool over to the east side of the house would be the least of your problems.

Zach --

How many houses would they put there under the subdivision plan, 7 or 8?

Zach said...

If memory serves me right the main house would have retained about 8 acres and 3 houses would have been built on the additional 6 acres.

Zach said...

I have added additional photos to last Tuesday's post on the Mary Harriman Rumsey place in Sands Point in case anyone is interested.

Kellsboro Jack said...

I cannot say I've ever been smitten with this home, but have felt sorry for its fate. Somewhere in my documents I have the Sheldon Good auction brochure from a decade ago. It was to go initially up for auction in Sep 2001 but that was shelved until 2002.

The NYT recently had pictures (mentioned on a prior thread) and it looked just month away from a good storm taking it all down.

The past owners - such as Virginia Kraft Payson - have been notable yet some have seemingly wanted even more notoriety for the house. Be it the assertion that its "The" inspiration for the Great Gatsby to being designed by Stanford White. The latter claim being disputed right down to Samuel White, his great grandson.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/16/garden/turf-a-whisper-of-white-a-hint-of-daisy.html

lil' gay boy said...

Devoted,

Not to worry; although hard to tell from photos, the pool/pool house sits in a depression on the lawn in such a way that from the house itself one can only see the railing around the roof terrace (which, if memory serves, was intended to be a helipad). If you look carefully, you can see that the lawn does indeed slope away from the house towards the water.

Ray Spinzia said...

I have recently come across some information concerning this estate. The house was built c. 1911 by John Scott Browning, Sr. (1863-1919) on property he purchased in August 1910. (New York Tribune, August 2, 1910, p. 8.)

The Social Register Summer, 1917 lists John Scott and Elizabeth M. Hays Browning [Sr.] as residing at Kidd's Rocks in Port Washington [Sands Point].

He was an heir to and treasurer of the sorely missed men's clothing store chain of Browning, King, and Co. He was also director of the American Exchange National Bank and director of the Pacific Bank of New York.

In reference to Kellsboro Jack's post re the architec: The claim that White designed the house can most likely be attributed to a subsequent owner Herbert Bayard Swope who liked to say that White had designed his house.

The assertion that Fitzgerald wrote portions of The Great Gatsby on the mansion's porch while the estate was owned by Swope is gossamer fantasy. Gatsby was published in 1925; Swope didn't purchase the estate until late 1928 or early 1929. {See Raymond E. and Judith A. Spinzia, "Gatsby: Myths and Realities of Long Island's Gold Coast." The Nassau County Historical Society Journal 52(1997):16-26.)

The Down East Dilettante said...

Zach, of course we're interested in additional photos of the Rumsey house!

As for Land's End/Kidd's Point: Sad, very sad. Not the best house, not the worst, and probably better than anything that will replace it.

Turner Pack Rats said...

first of all - now thats a bathroom. i love all these colored marble baths. if you're gonna have to spend a lot of time in a room, at least it should be interesting.
ditto DED - of course we want more pix at any time you have them. we're all picture gluttons.
second - as much as i'm not a big fan of neo-cols, this one has a great scale in and out and i like the croissant shape, those parquet floors (not butter), the library and that wallpaper - yum. i also like how they ran the staircase over the entrance door - a neat trick. despite its ratty shape, what a shame to tear it down. when are these boneheads gonna catch on to the fact that we won't be making any more Stanford Whites. you'd think developers might evolve over time but i guess they must be related to lawyers in the species. what i really can't understand is that the rich are building places bigger than this that cost more money than this and this one has even been updated with a lot of modern amenities. why not just fix this.

security word def - "lateris" (i'm getting tired of these texting words - this is texting for "when i'm going to see you next" or it could be French for a species of Oryza sativa harvested in November

The Ancient said...

It is interesting, to say the least, to see a passable consensus in favor of a tear-down.

(What I really think is that it would take 7 to 10 million to fix the house, and it wouldn't be worth it.)

Topaz said...

I'm wondering in what condition the house appeared when it was sold in 2004. Did the buyer at the point never live in it or do needed repairs, or was the purpose then to tear it down and subdivide? The house seems to have deteriorated a lot in seven years if it was still in passable condition at that point.

Also, could you tell me what year that sales brochure was produced?

lil' gay boy said...

I'm finding hard to believe the house is really in such terrible shape given all the PhotoShopping done to the photos, not to mention that it would have taken an awful lot of neglect to cause such damage.

Sales photos circa 2004 show no such deterioration which is rather extensive and simply does not show up on either Bing or Google satellite photos which are no more than a few years old...

I for one do not favor tear down.

Anonymous said...

I lived here, in the servants quarters (top left windows) as a caretaker for the Paysons. Jenn Ross's photos are a real shocker. My family rode out a few hurricanes here, as the top floors swayed. The pool house was indeed below the view of the ocean. Miss America, ambassadors and others visited here while I was there. Madonna's nude photo book was shot at the pool house and around the property. I met a few movie stars as parts of movies were shot here.

Jen Ross said...

Hi guys thanks to those of you who liked the photos. As for LGB's noticing the photoshopping... I have all the original files and a great deal more that I did not post in the gallery. There seems to be a lot of interest so perhaps I should post more. Obviously I did photoshop the images, trying to convey the feeling that I had that magical afternoon at lands end. The water in the first image is taken from down the beach off a jetty - the tide never reaches that high but it FEELS like it does when you are there alone on a silent afternoon in late summer.

Mostly I was using a technique called HDR... it is still a real image but it is several exposures, bracketed so that all highlights and shades of shadow are captured... however I do not think that this effect exaggerates the state that the house is in. There are some totally unshopped images in there as well. The state of the house is pretty much how you see it... and the creepy birds in the first shot are real by the way... that one was not taken on the same day as the others... Cheers and thanks to everyone who liked the shots and thanks to Zach for such a juicy website!

Jen Ross said...

Hi guys, I have added more photos to a blog here http://jenrossphoto.blogspot.com/2011/03/lands-end-sands-point.html

Hope you enjoy. I have set them to quotes from The Great Gatsby. RIP Lands End.

Anonymous said...

Save Lands End from demolition!

cattychick said...

Jen, thank you so much for the hauntingly beautiful photos.

I am reading Keith Richards' bio, "Life," and it appears that Richards' son Marlon and Marlon's mother lived in this house for a short time in 1980.

Marlon noted that the house served as the inspiration for Gatsby's mansion. Marlon claimed he would hear "1920s jazz music, dinner parties and clinking glasses and laughter that disippated as you walked toward (the house)."

The home is no architectural wonder, but it is still heartbreaking to see it go.

Gregory Hubbard said...

Hello! When I toured the house during an auction in the 1960's, I was certain the 'Chinese' wall paper was actually the work of the much sought-after artist Kay Patton (sp?), who specialized in hand-painted papers. Similar wallpaper decorated the astounding art deco front hall of the Tankersley house in Potomac, Maryland, destroyed when the house, abandoned by the family, burned.

Anonymous said...

I lived here as well, 1980-1985 in the caretakers quarters, i have lots of video of the grounds and I have great memories, so sad its gone

Anonymous said...

I was really upset when I read that the push to save this home from demolition didn't work. While it wasn't where Fitzgerald lived, it would've been nice preserving what inspired a truly great novel. Thank goodness the case was won to stop development that would destroy Undershaw.