Thursday, January 5, 2012


'Pembroke', the Captain Joseph Raphael De Lamar estate designed by C.P.H. Gilbert c. 1916 in Glen Cove. De Lamar, who was born in Amsterdam, made his fortune in mining out west and served as a State Senator in Idaho. He was known on Wall Street as "The Man of Mystery" and was president or vice-president of a host of companies. De Lamar died in 1918 and the house was later purchased by Marcus Loew (who would pass it on to his son Arthur Loew) and was eventually demolished c. 1968. Click HERE for more on 'Pembroke'. Click HERE for a NYTimes article from 1996 on the subdivision of the estate. Click HERE to see where 'Pembroke' stood on google earth.

Photos from The American Architect, 1919.


magnus said...

The landscaping has always perplexed me- all those tiny little effects against that massive, muscled (over muscled?) architecture. What were they thinking?

The Down East Dilettante said...

They were thinking 'how labor intensive and fussy can we make it, to further show off our wealth'.

This place falls into the "I may not know much about art, but I know what I like" category.

And while some people may mind that on a purely critical level I consider Gilbert a second string architect, it doesn't mean that I don't appreciate how completely, wonderfully over the top and lavish this hot mess of a house is. If it still stood, I'd be the first to stand in line to buy a ticket to see it.

That view of the place from the water is wonderful.

archibuff said...

Pembroke....The epitome of grand pleasure palace by the sea. What a fantastic home and incredible conservatory. I would love to have seen this complex in person. While other places were more serious architectural statements, i.e., Harbor Hill, and many mansions of the era provided a newly minted millionaire with the trappings of a great family heritage with an ancestoral castle or old tudor to confirm their centuries old lineage, Pembroke just screams "I made a ton of money and I definitely know how to spend it"

I often have wondered if DeLamar's personality matched his architectural statements. Seemed he out muscled Woolworth in getting this spectacular waterfront lot to build his LI mansion and in NYC he purposely built his enormous townhouse opposite Morgan's older more sedate home due to a history of bad blood with business dealings that never came to fruition with Morgan.

As for the tiny plantings, many of the newly planted gardens in a lot of the homes posted here, like Chateau Ivor, Maxwelton and Knollwood show the tiny impact landscaping had those first few years after construction. I have seen dozens of stark willowy trees and little clipped balls in the gardens. However, notice all those previously mentioned places and including Pembroke in later years and I see lush mature landscaping enhancing the mansion and grounding even the most imposing home to its site. I agree with Zack, its one of my favorite LI homes of the era.

Anonymous said...

Though total opposites, Wheatly and Pembroke are pure magic to me, I can get lost gazing at photos of these two magnificant estates. If time travel were only possible, in their prime, these two would be my choice destinations.

Anonymous said...

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

Doug Floor Plan said...

Great find Zach, thanks for sharing.

This house hurts my brain. But beyond that I’m confused about access to the water (west) side forecourt featured here. In the third photo it looks like there are two roads to that forecourt – one that comes through/under? the “plant corridor” (that leads to the swimming pool etc.) & one that wraps around the end of that same long wing. The plat map sort of supports there is a road through/under? the corridor but the fifth photo clearly shows there isn’t one – which means that road in the fifth photo is just for kitchen service/deliveries (which, to me, means that long wing should have been built on the other side of the house or been a separate building & not accessed from the breakfast/dining rooms of the main house). But is it then correct that access to that water side forecourt was only by going all the way around the end of that long wing, where the road also dips down at the end of the building? If it is then I miss the grandeur or sense of arrival that I think it would be intended you have.

charles said...

These photos show just how massive this place was. I would love to have roamed around inside!

Turner Pack Rats said...

ditto DED and Anon - this one and Wheatly really say i've got it and this is how i'm gonna show you. Gilbert must have had to take a breather every hour when penning this one just to keep all the elevations straight and love that palm court/conservatory. i'm the tall guy right behind DED in line to see this place. now where did i put that time machine?

security word def - "socri" - 1. aimed at DFP with the words "a river" added
2. Cliff notes philosopher bio

The Down East Dilettante said...

Wheatley--an imaginative, impressionistic work, highly artistic in conception, with endless references to other places and times imaginatively re-worked into a fascinating whole.

Pembroke, a great big ole f-you wedding cake plopped down on its site. Xanadu indeed. Very different sensibilities at work, both houses compelling statements about wealth and leisure and the messages its owners wished to convey. One turns quietly inward, the other thumps its chest.

For all its size, Wheatley has domestic leanings, and is designed for civilized family life. Pembroke is designed to re-assure its owner that he was who he was.

Rich Reynolds said...

I grew up in the Landing section of Glen Cove, about a mile from Pembroke. In the 1960's we used to sneak onto the grounds, not to do any damage, but just to look around. By 1968 it was very obvious that the place had deteriorated to the point where it needed to be demolished. In the summer of 1968, we watched through the wrought iron fence as Doxey's demolition crew tore into that magnificent building. A very sad day.