Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Gardens of Paul Cravath

The gardens of 'Veraton' III, the third Paul Cravath estate designed by Guy Lowell c. 1914 in Matinecock with landscaping by Lowell and the Olmsted Brothers. Click HERE to see 'Veraton' III on google earth and HERE on bing.

Photos from Country Life, 1922.


Doug Floor Plan said...

Beautiful gardens in the 1922 ‘Country Life’ article – too bad we can’t identify which Paul Cravath house they graced by them still being there.

Looking at the photos & Bing views of Mr. Cravath’s homes it seems clear he had a preference for a formal looking, symmetrical house; which is not a bad thing … but I’m surprised he never tried another look as others who built multiple houses at that time did … I guess he knew what he liked.

The Down East Dilettante said...

But he did try---each house, though each was formal, had a distinctly different style---from the Colonial Revival/Georgian of the first, to the slightly bombastic Georgian Classical of the second and third, to the graceful, less pretentious neoclassical Regency of Still Place, the last.

IMHO, given the date of the article, and the newness of the hedges, it is more than likely that these are at Still Place---Veraton III no longer being the Cravath residence (and Still Place being the most admired, and most published of Cravath's houses)

Zach L. said...

DED...I tend to agree on the location...though I've been through Still House and the rear yard and have a hard time envisioning where these gardens would have sat. All I recall finding there was a small garden off the kitchen wing with a small statue. I suppose much of the woodland in the rear could be more recent growth. When the place was for sale it was listed at something like 35 acres but I think at least 25 if not more were wooded.

Doug Floor Plan said...

This morning after seeing the publicized gardens no longer existed I didn’t think about identifying where they once were. But since DED & Zach debated the location I took a closer look & my best guess is the ‘Country Life’ photographs were taken at ‘Veraton’ III, east of the house. The caption for one picture places the house in the distance & that house has a flat roof – isn’t ‘Veraton’ III the only of the four Paul Cravath LI houses having a flat roof?

I can make out only one window in the house & believe that window is the single, second-story window on the left at you approach the front door, meaning the croquet green (you can see croquet stakes in two of the pictures) was on the front side of the house. Another caption puts a pool in the center of the garden & I think that pool was even with the body of the house, where two trees are now. This would all make sense (to me) because the arched hedge that is still there would have been one end of the garden & “The arbored end of the garden, where the rose-covered wall forms a background for a lawn bench and the croquet green” would have been the other.

I’m not positive; it’s just my best guess.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

The wikimapia links have mynas photos on the properties -

Scroll to page 66 to better able read captions - The arbors and "walls" that surround the garden are pink Dorthy Perkins roses in full bloom{June}.,+1922&source=bl&ots=TEgpiDW7Ts&sig=6drj_X56-bWc5HuahcyZjlmdnvo&hl=en&ei=sepfTvC7FtLksQL3vpT8Dw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Cravath&f=false

Zach would be able to confirms this - I don't think Still House has enough flat land to support the size of the garden pictured. In first photo caption "and the house in the distance." House in distance matches roof of Veraton III. PLUS check the Google Book link - Veraton III wikimapia - aerial photo shows the garden.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

"better able"??? Did you notice they filled in the swimming pool as you rotate the view?

The Down East Dilettante said...

I stand convinced. Veraton III

Doug Floor Plan said...

Thanks again HPHS for the links. Not only are the gardens in the 1922 ‘Country Life’ article located at ‘Veraton’ III but it is also clear this house has been significantly reduced in size.

The Google book link in Wikimapia shows the photographed garden was east of the house like I had guessed but the entire garden was in front of the house & ran along the drive; in the Bing view a house with a swimming pool sits now where the garden was.

What’s also interesting is that the photo & floor plan in the Google book link to ‘Long Island Country Houses and Their Architects’ shows ‘Veraton’ III has been reduced in size by about a third. Using the grass circle in the forecourt, which doesn’t appear to have moved, as a reference point you can see the original ‘Veraton’ III’s two projecting front wings came forward almost even with the edge of the grass circle & the section between the wings was house on the ground floor. That columned half-circle at the entrance now was originally part of an atrium in the center of the ground floor. Over half of the service wing has also been removed, leaving only that square block on the west side.

& you are correct HPHS – I missed the appearing & disappearing swimming pool in the back lawn at ‘Veraton’ III as you rotate the Bing view. The pool is there in Historic Aerials for 2000 & 2006 so it appears to have been only recently removed.

I think it's still a good looking house, just not as big & impressive as it once was.