Monday, October 31, 2011

'Veraton'

The first 'Veraton', the Paul Drennan Cravath estate designed by Babb, Cook & Willard c. 1905 in Lattingtown, with landscaping by Guy Lowell. Cravath was a prominent attorney with the firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore and represented the United States Treasury at the Inter-Allied Conference in Paris in 1917. Click HERE for more on 'Veraton'. The house burned down in 1908 and Cravath would rebuild on the same site in 1911 though the second 'Veraton' burned in 1914. The estate eventually became The Creek Club. Click HERE to see where 'Veraton' stood on google earth.


Photos from Architecture, 1908.

19 comments:

The Devoted Classicist said...

I am interested in the point when residences begin to be designed with the automobile in mind. The entrance to this 1905 country house would indicate that it was expected arrival would be by carriage, wouldn't you say?

The Down East Dilettante said...

and/or that arrival by auto was like arrival by carriage?

Interesting to me to watch the progression of Cravath's taste through the Various Veraton's to Still Place---from grand to classical grandeur to extreme refinement and understatement---a true parable of the training of the eye from parvenu to established

Doug Floor Plan said...

Finally, some clear photos where we can get a good look – thanks Zach. It’s a good looking house but so huge – you could lop off those perpendicular wings at each end & it would still be a big house. This is another place where I’d like to see the floor plan because those mismatched center chimneys in an otherwise symmetrical layout make me wonder what’s going on there.

The interior photos show some impressive craftsmanship & very nice furnishings & artwork – all lost to fire within three years of those photos … sigh.

The Down East Dilettante said...

I wonder what Cravath's insurance rates were like by the time he built the third house? I certainly wouldn't let him stay overnight at my house with a pack of matches...

Zach said...

The 1908 fire started in the kitchen dumbwaiter:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9807E0DE1631E233A25757C2A9629C946997D6CF&scp=5&sq=cravath+fire&st=p

The 1914 fire started from "defective insulation":

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9404EFD91E39E633A25756C1A9629C946596D6CF&scp=3&sq=cravath+fire&st=p

And amazingly...Veraton III caught fire in 1917 but was quickly extinguished and the firemen invited to dinner:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9D07E3DB1538EE32A25751C1A9649C946696D6CF&scp=4&sq=cravath+fire&st=p

Anonymous said...

Beautiful entrance hall and I especially like the exterior entrance portico with the door & window details and shallow balcony above. The house also presided over a spectacular site from the long tree lined entry drive to the sloping land northward toward Long Island Sound. I also am amazed at the progression of homes he built threw the years, unfortunately at the expense of the destruction of the previous mansions and many of their contents.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Think how different Cravath's architectural journey had smoke detectors been invented back then.

Very smart of him not to name the fourth house Veraton.

Kellsboro Jack said...

While bad luck appears to have been plentiful I was under the impression that (in the old school era, obviously less so today) it was in poor form to rename a home.

Forget about simply having the fire company over for dinner with his woes with flames he should've explored having a hydrant installed nearby.

Doug Floor Plan said...

LOL Kellsboro Jack – or required every maid & footman to have a small extinguisher strapped on at least one hip.

Patricia said...

I'm curious about the names of these estates, and how the people came up with them. Does "Pembroke" have any meaning to the owner? Or is it like their version of a middle class subdivision being called "Rolling Hill Estates" or "Duck Creek Farm"?

Why Veraton?

When I googled it, Google responded, "Do you mean VERIZON?"

Uh, no.

In the case of Meudon, some showing off had to be part of the choice to equate your home with the original Meudon.

Other than on estate signs and stationery, I wonder when the names were actually used. Conversationally, did these people say, "We'll be at Veraton for Christmas" or "We'll be in the country/Long Island/Locust Valley for Christmas"?

Just curious.

Zach said...

In this particular case the name was derived from Cravath's daughter Vera.

Each one is different...many from owner names like Winfield Hall...Winfield being Woolworth's middle name... to specific topographical features like Spring Hill...a very large hill that had a number of natural springs running under it...or Crossroads...which before it was built was the intersection of 3 roads.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Somewhere in past posts I linked a archival how-to book on the naming of estates. Which one or title of book I can't recall.

Zach said...

HPHS...here it is:

http://www.archive.org/stream/bookofinscriptio00matsrich#page/n7/mode/2up

The Ancient said...

Patricia --

I don't think there was ever a hard and fast rule on usage. Over the years, I've heard some relatives refer to their pre-war houses by name, and others just say things like "the country" or "Southampton." I think it's a question of personality type and/or family tradition.

Personally, I always use my house's name in conversation, on stationery, etc. And why not? It's had that name for two hundred fifty years -- it's even carved in stone outside the gates -- who am I to change it? Besides, the whole notion of a named house really unsettles certain people, and that's priceless.

Lodi said...

Our house has a name and we only use it when we are giving directions to lost delivery men. You know "the house with a sign out front that says Coppinger House". It is amazing to us how many people know the house by the name though. Sometimes it's kind of neat.

The Ancient said...

Patricia --

I've thought about this a bit more.

The houses that have been torn down -- some of which have been featured here -- are universally referred to within the family by place names, never house names.

It's only extant houses -- living houses -- that get to keep their names. In our assorted families.

(But none of this really matters. Who wouldn't laugh if the Marriots swept in, scooped up Biltmore, and renamed it Willard?)

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit verklempt....I love all the incarnations of this home...but am especially fond of the first.

Patricia said...

Thanks, Ancient and Zach, for the feedback. I appreciate it. Maybe the verification words would make good names for a home. Mine just now is Gorta -- sounds like a rest home for retired oompah band players.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Patricia, late for the discussion, but in my own experience, the house name is often used--i.e. "We'll be at 'Birch Rocks' in August, but we've had to let it out for July", or "we can have the party at 'Eastholm' if it's all right with mother". In my own family, going to the summer place, whose cute name bestowed by my great grandfather long ago fell out of usage, is referred to as 'The Neck", for the peninsula on which it and its neighbors sit, while across the small bay, my cousin's place is always referred to in the family by name.