Wednesday, November 16, 2011

'Dunstable'

'Dunstable', the Winslow Shelby Pierce II estate designed by Babb, Cook & Willard c. 1903 in Bayville. Pierce, an attorney, began his career at Dillon & Swayne and was counsel for Jay Gould during the establishment of Gould's Southwest railways. He undertook the reorganization of the Union Pacific Railway Company in 1895 which he completed in 3 years. In 1902 he created the law firm of Pierce & Greer with partner Lawrence Greer. Throughout his life he was at various times general counsel and chairman of the board of the Union Pacific, Wabash and St. Louis Southwestern Railway Companies and chairman of the board of the Western Maryland Railroad. He was also mayor of the Village of Bayville for 10 years from 1919 to 1929. In 1926 Pierce sold the estate to Harrison Williams who renamed it 'Oak Point' and hired Delano & Aldrich to design significant alterations. Pierce moved next door to a smaller house which he also named 'Dunstable' and would die there at the age of 80 in 1938. The estate was demolished in 1950. Click HERE to see where 'Dunstable' would have stood on google earth.





Photos from Architecture, 1903.

22 comments:

The Ancient said...

Doesn't it look like just the sort of place where dozens of people would wind up handcuffed to metal beds?

A remarkably ugly house.

The Devoted Classicist said...

The Harrison Williamses were notable for their stylish residences. So I am hoping you'll show their renovation next.

The Down East Dilettante said...

So, has anyone seen pictures of the place after Mona Strader Schlesinger Curtis Williams Von Bismarck de Martini Von Bismarck (whew, I'm pretty sure I got that right) redecorated? I've seen spreads of her Syrie Maugham interiors in the Willard Straight House, and I happen to be sitting on pictures of the Delano & Aldrich indoor swimming pool/tennis court pavilion, both when new and after she turned it into her house, but nothing of the renovation of Oak Point itself. One quickly sees that these were not rooms that the future countess would spend a night in

The Down East Dilettante said...

PS. I normally leave this up to DFP, but I must say that the floorplan is singularly lacking in spatial imagination and charming vista...

Security word deminin---the soon to be former Mrs. Kutcher's rapper alias.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Oops. My bad. Mona Strader Schlesinger BUSH Williams von Bismarck de Martini von Bismarck. Or MSSBWvBdMvB for short.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this post will follow with one showing the renovated home after Harrison Williams purchased the property. The renovation photos of the house and especially the grounds are spectacular. briefly had the chance to walk the grounds back in the 70's before the estate was subdivided and even then, the allee of trees leading from an auxiliary entrance gate and the overgrown garden remnants were quite beautiful. Also a very nice gatehouse survived into the 90's. A superintendents cottage is the sole remaining building north of Bayville Ave. The service buildings have been repurposed for the town of Bayville and as private homes, south of Bayville Ave. Maybe someone has a photo of the original main gates themselves as the auxiliary gates had wonderful dolphins, I believe, which are cavorting along the base.

Zach said...

Pictures of 'Oak Point' will indeed follow tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Don't care much for the exterior, with the exception of the main entrance, but even though many of you would consider the Main Hall outdated...I love it.

Going by google, it looks as if Dunstable pretty much took up all of Bayville...are the brick walls that line Bayville Ave. part of this estate?

Doug Floor Plan said...

I agree it's not difficult to see why the Harrison Williamses brought in Delano & Aldrich to make significant alterations; although I like most of the floor plan & think most of the problems with this house are cosmetic. Outside 90 percent of the external ornamentation is clustered around the front & back doors; inside it’s too heavy – the great hall reminds me of the original great hall in ‘Reata’ from the movie ‘Giant.’ The outside needs landscaping, a lot of it; although on the terrace I noticed two clipped trees & it reminded me of what DED said when discussing ‘Chateau Ivor’ “a pair of topiary bay trees, the favorite of gilded age terraces the world round.”

I agree with DED about a lack of originality but my worst criticism about the floor plan is to wonder why the Winslow Shelby Pierce II family felt the need to have two main staircases, because the pair wrapped around the front door could easily disappear & no one would miss them. On the second floor I like that as you walk down the hall you are walking towards a window – Horace Trumbauer’s plans often had this feature although that window was often in a bathroom. & I wonder why the elevator is next to the servant’s staircase & not where the Pierce family & their guests had easy access to it.

Kellsboro Jack said...

I must say that's a rather handsome high school or institutional orphanage ;>

It is one thing to have a residence as a statement but it should also have some degree of warmth. That property, at the time of its construction, just seems ice cold.

Very much off topic but I did stumble across he Samuel Yellin stair railing for Bayberry Land (Southampton) razed in May 2004. It's a shame that it almost cannot be used unless you build a new home around it.

http://urbanarchaeology.com/cutsheets/salvage/SamuelYellinStairRail_UA0069-SV.pdf

archibuff said...

I like the entranec hall too and the curving staircase. While the home is heavy on staircases, an elevator in that location is quite logical. One can see it is enclosed in a separate hallway so it could be used by family or guests if necessary, but more importantly it had access to the entry court, where guests would unload trunks and luggage for their stay and this made it easy to transport those up quickly to the bedrooms. The EH Harriman mansion, Arden House, in Harriman NY has a beautiful elevator with wood panelled walls and brass scrolled grilles and details, elaborate by anyones standards, but it opens off the kitchen hallway, accessible from the service courtyard and was labeled the trunk elevator. It carried the occasional guest but was chiefly utilitarian as it accessed the bedrooms on the 2nd floor and the large storage rooms on the 3rd floor, called appropriately enough trunk rooms. Also one request, maybe the other site can feature the Harriman Home in Harriman, New York, a vast stone mansion, almost National Park Lodge-like, but the family utilized a majority of American craftsman and designers and commissioned local artists of the period, something unusual for the day when Europe influenced home design.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Actually, I always think of the Harriman house, certainly from the entrance front, as looking like a railroad station (appropriately enough). Interestingly, the Harriman family also interviewd Edwin Lutyens for the job, and he prepared prelims, although the job went to Carrere & Hastings. Lots of vintage pictures on the Location site

The Down East Dilettante said...

I'm supposed to be polishing my talk for later this afternoon at the local art museum, so instead I'm commenting on OLI. Link here to more about Oak Point, including a map of the estate:

http://books.google.com/books?id=BjDO-CM9ZnYC&lpg=PA23&dq=harrison%20williams%20oak%20point&pg=PA23#v=onepage&q=harrison%20williams%20oak%20point&f=false

Anonymous said...

DED I do hope you'll be sharing your photos of the Delano & Aldrich playhouse as well! Especially after it was converted into her residence.

Lora said...

The exterior reminds me of the Catholic schools that were built during the same time period. But I do like the interior very much.

Doug Floor Plan said...

DED, thanks for the link -- Mona Strader Schlesinger BUSH Williams von Bismarck de Martini von Bismarck (or MSSBWvBdMvB for short) was a good looking woman & appears to have had a good time with her life, which not all wealthy women do.

If I were smart I wouldn't comment further about those stairs wrapped around the front door but no one has called me smart since ... hmmm? One of the reasons the front exterior of this house is so ugly is because the front door section had to be budged out that way to accommodate those stairs. I have to wonder if it wasn’t a last minute impulse addition. The front would be much less unattractive if this section were even with the projection of the end wings as it is on the back side. I do not know what this house looked like after Delano & Aldrich alterations but won’t be surprised if this section looks nothing like it does here … Zach will make all known tomorrow, I guess.

Old Former Long Islander said...

Does anyone know exactly where on the property the house sat or in which direction it faced? The area by the bluff was occupied by the nine hole golf course. I heard the house had over 100 rooms. If so, it must have been post-renovation. These were the first pictures I've seen of the house (not wild about it). I'd love to see what it looked like after the Williams renovation. It was our very own Normandy Beach when we were growing up. Climbing over the crumbling sea walls to scale the cliffs would get you to the fence and purportedly within range of the caretaker's salt shotgun. The place has particular interest to me, because several relatives once lived/worked on the estate (before my time), but that's a story for another time.

OFLI

Anonymous said...

I'm also interested OFLI, as I said before, it looks as if the estate took up most all of Bayville. And I agree the house in this state is unattractive, but I do feel that the main entrance, and mid-section south front are the only redeeming qualities to the exterior.

Zach said...

Map of Bayville in 1914:

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6038/6351391841_6de5e471da_b.jpg

Map of Bayville in 1927:

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6239/6352136632_45f3dbd4aa_b.jpg

Anonymous said...

The front entrance and the double stairs are the only redeeming architectural features about this house. Without the projecting entrance the front would look as dismal as the back and the without the curving stairs the great hall would be a box.

The Down East Dilettante said...

OFLI, the link I gave above leads one directly to a map of the estate, showing exactly the layout of the property (and how much of Bayville it occupied.

Anon. 8:25, total agreement. Dismal plan, dismal house, nice entrance.

Old (Former) Long Islander said...

DED,

Great stuff. Thanks.

OFLI