Friday, April 15, 2011

'Erchless'

'Erchless', the Howard Phipps Sr. estate designed by Adams & Prentice c. 1935 in Old Westbury. Click HERE for more on 'Erchless' and HERE to see 'Erchless' in 1936.

18 comments:

The Down East Dilettante said...

Marvelous building, Wonderful to see one estate intact, with the maintenance (and the taste with which it is carried out) all looking 'as it should', nary a concrete forecourt fountain to be seen. I was admiring the layout of the grounds on Bing just a few minutes ago..

Doug Floor Plan said...

Speaking of which: here is this handsome house on Bing: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=qsx1f28w0t32&lvl=19.45068605943027&dir=7.806993680907516&sty=b&where1=Westbury%2C%20NY&q=Westbury%2C%20New%20York – just showing off what lil’ gay boy taught me yesterday.

Zach, in your photos taken during a 2008 garden tour I count only two people in one picture. I know I intentionally crop people out (or wait for them to move somewhere else) when I’m photographing architecture but I’m curious if this tour was well attended – you haven’t posted any pictures from any subsequent garden tour here.

Anonymous said...

I think I was at that tour...there were people, but not overcrowded. I think people came and went most of the day because there were two other gardens on the tour, (one was I think a Zen garden, I think in either Brookville or Mill Neck?),so it was pretty much like a steady flow...which was nice because you werent shoulder to shoulder and really got to enjoy walking around.

The Devoted Classicist said...

Although I would like to tweak the landscaping and add a few touches to make it less somber (NOT a concrete forecourt fountain), it is a very handsome house. I love the big chimneys and the limestone carved decoration is beautifully executed. In addition to the lintels, the shell decoration in the pediment at the main entrance and the sundial plaque over the garden entrance are especially handsome.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that this mansion is so close to Post Road and in between another road. I wonder how land was sold off of this great estate or was this estate always this way. I noticed this on the Bing view. I love the mansion and am happy it is still there in its glorious state.

Zach said...

The boundaries of Erchless are exactly the same as they were when Howard Phipps was alive. I believe he donated the land south of Erchless for the Westbury High School so I assume at one point it reached Jericho Tpke, but other than that it retains all the original land.

DFP...The photos from the 2008 garden tour were taken about 20 minutes before they closed so there were only a few people left. I returned in 2009 right when they opened and took a great deal of photos with absolutely no one in the frame but I haven't posted many of them (today is one).

Erchless unfortunately doesn't appear on the 2011 Garden Conservancy's Open Days schedule:

http://www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays/open-days-schedule/openday/362-nassau-county-open-day

Zach said...

And I should probably add that Erchless is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to in Nassau County. The landscaping, especially now that it has matured, is really unlike anything else in the area. And the house has been kept in impeccable shape.

Anonymous said...

It still bothers me that the fountain by the pool, which appears in the homes earlier photos has been replaced by shrubs.

Kellsboro Jack said...

If its possible I have to say I admire this home almost as much as Zach does .. and I've never even been there :) Each time the pictures are shown of this property I just happily drink them in.

While I adore a home with some ivy this home is regal in the classic sense even with its absence. When seeing the plot from the bing view you can appreciate all the more how much of an oasis this property is. One would never believe from Zach's pics that so much is developed just past the hedges and stand of trees.

I've met members of the Phipps family - Dinny for example - at race courses and they collectively aren't chilly Old Guard as one may assume.

The Ancient said...

I'd just like to say a nice word about Henry Phipps -- who wound up with a bundle of money for both good and coincidental reasons, and then did the odd thing that so many of his contemporaries didn't: He designed a means to keep his descendants comfortably rich. (Bessemer Trust.)

And now, five generations down the line, with more than a hundred heirs, there are precious few Phipps's bleating for some form of public assistance on any front. (Joke.)

And when you stop to consider how very many people -- a hundred, anyway -- had more money than Henry Phipps did back then, this is no mean accomplishment.

So good for him.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to echo Kellsboro Jack's sentiments. Having become loosely acquainted with Howard Phipps Jr. and his sister Anne (a.k.a. Princess Sidamon-Eristoff), I must say they are two of the most friendly, generous and down to earth "society types" one could hope to meet. No pretense whatsoever.

I'm thinking that Henry Phipps probably created some good karma by using the 50% of his fortune which didn't go into the Bessemer Trust to establish a charitable foundation that continues to aid many, many needy people to this day.

Doug Floor Plan said...

Since there is no new house posted to chew on today I compared the 1936 photos (the year after 'Erchless' was completed) with Zach’s 2008 garden tour photos. There are surprisingly few changes considering a 72-year span:
• As expected the vegetation is much more mature & plants have appeared & disappeared. Most notable is that in 1936 looking from the swimming pool towards the house there are two large trees symmetrically flanking the main body of the house & in 2008 the tree on the right is gone.
• Still looking from the swimming pool towards the house:
o The concrete balustrade atop & along the symmetrical curved steps leading down to the pool has been replaced by much lighter looking wrought iron.
o The small fountain & pool that were inside the symmetrical curved steps have been removed … but I wonder if they left that carved face mounted in the wall?
o The stone or concrete benches flanking the swimming pool have been removed as has something in the middle of the pool’s rim – it looks like a diving board.
• All the shutters have been removed from the house – this is the single most notable change to the exterior.

The coach lights flanking the front door appear to be unchanged & what might appear to be open loggias later enclosed in glass were enclosed in 1936. To me it’s impressive that someone in a later generation didn’t decide to give this house a new look … especially in the 1960s or 70s when some of the worst looking ‘new looks’ were being done (my opinion).

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Lands End is being demolished today, please take a look at my blog post.

http://garylawrance.blogspot.com/2011/04/lands-end-sands-point-demolished.html

lil' gay boy said...

A moment of silence...

Anonymous said...

DFP....

"o The concrete balustrade atop & along the symmetrical curved steps leading down to the pool has been replaced by much lighter looking wrought iron.
o The small fountain & pool that were inside the symmetrical curved steps have been removed … but I wonder if they left that carved face mounted in the wall?"

That's the only thing about this home I wish they didn't change.


The caretakers home,though very different from this, is also impressive.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Watch CBS Sunday Morning for story and video of the demo.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/04/17/sunday/main20054710.shtml

Anonymous said...

"The Ancient said...
I'd just like to say a nice word about Henry Phipps -- who wound up with a bundle of money for both good and coincidental reasons, and then did the odd thing that so many of his contemporaries didn't: He designed a means to keep his descendants comfortably rich. (Bessemer Trust.)

And now, five generations down the line, with more than a hundred heirs, there are precious few Phipps's bleating for some form of public assistance on any front. (Joke.)

And when you stop to consider how very many people -- a hundred, anyway -- had more money than Henry Phipps did back then, this is no mean accomplishment.

So good for him."



Thank you Ancient for your kind words, I am one of those descendants, which I am very lucky to be... One very smart man.