Tuesday, January 3, 2012

'Welwyn' Indoor Tennis Court

The indoor tennis court at 'Welwyn', the Harold I. Pratt estate designed by Babb, Cook & Willard c. 1906 in Glen Cove with extensive alterations by Delano & Aldrich in the 1920s (including the indoor tennis court). It seems that Nassau County rents out the residence that is attached to the tennis court but the court itself fell into a ruinous state many years ago. Click HERE for more on 'Welwyn'. Click HERE to see the tennis court on google earth and HERE on bing.



19 comments:

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Whats the story on this place.... used in a movie, they weren't respectful to the court or Mrs Pratt and it fell into disrepair after that?

Zach said...

FWIW... A New Leaf came out in 1971 and Mrs. Harold Pratt died in 1969.

And the only copy of A New Leaf I can find is on VHS.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

To Ancients question if I understand the question - move cursor to address bar - left click your mouse - full text show highlight in blue - right click your mouse - menu appears: cut copy past - move cursor to cut or copy and click - bring cursor to post box and right click cursor again - menu: cut copy paste - click on paste and text will appear. Is that what you were asking about?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_New_Leaf

http://www.amazon.com/New-Leaf-VHS-Walter-Mathau/dp/6300216217/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1325598928&sr=1-1

Isn't there something to the movie people doing damage?

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

http://silveragemovies.com/a-new-leaf-1971-p-263.html

The Ancient said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SWI6v8dqFs

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Thanks Ancient, now I don't have to wait for a library copy. View count on YouTube - 890, 24hours later???

The Down East Dilettante said...

Well, I may not be one of the 1%, but I am one of the 890.

Zach, 'fallen into disrepair' is a tad of an understatement...

The Down East Dilettante said...

Living far from Nassau County, as I do, it still baffles me that one of the most tax rich counties in the nation can manage its public properties so particularly badly. (Don't bother explain---I do get how it happens---corruption, poor management, bad priorities, etc---but it still baffles). It could have been put to use as a public or park faciility, for example. I get tearing it down, I get keeping it repaired---its the willful destruction by neglect that is jaw dropping.

So, how much rent does one pay for a house opening into a ruined tennis court with rusty oil drums laying around? And what sort of person rents? "Honey, let's go see if we can find a house with a ruined tennis court off the living room?

archibuff said...

Living in the Welwyn preserve could be amazing if only the County gave a damn. One of the truly sad parts of "preservation" on Long island has to do with the cozy arrangement historic sites and preserves had a number of years ago with an organization (which will go nameless so it can be forgotten for good) that was supposed to find renters for historic homes located within parks and preserves like Welwyn. I think they formerly occupied the mansion in the Muttontown Preserve? In exchange for offering ridiculously low rents, one could live in an 18th farmhouse or in a former estate cottage or Victorian mansion on acres and acres of land, but as a renter you would agree to work on the property, restore it and/or maintain it since you were only paying about $300 to $800 to rent what was essentially your own private historic oasis. Of course political corruption saw that many of the renters were in fact "good friends and relatives of political hacks and apppointees instead of preservationists. Many properties deteriorated further and this organization, founded to further the preservation cause on LI, set it back many years. Just another sad chapter in Long Islands/Nassau Counties stellar history of preservation.

Kellsboro Jack said...

Nifty D&A cottage nestled in the woods and while the tennis may be lost at least a ugly industrial appendage of concrete hasn't been affixed as so many institutional places have.

If the job is open I'd happily be the caretaker of the cottage, clean up the yard, recycle the HazMat barrels, scare off the rats, and even answer questions regarding its history to the curiosity seekers who might venture up the drive :)

Mind you I'd add some English grape ivy and perhaps ask if the county would entertain removing the paved forecourt for a light brown colored pea stone gravel variant ....

The Down East Dilettante said...

Regarding public ownership of great houses, and the Nassau county problems in particular, reminds me of the story of the fate of a big house up here. Acadia National Park was founded by George B. Dorr, a rich bachelor from Boston. He summered in the grand shingle cottage built by his father, considered the first 'really well built' house at Bar Harbor, with extensive gardens and grounds overlooking Frenchman's Bay (the first version of this house is pictured in 'The Shingle Style' by Scully). Dorr left the house to the Park along with his lands. The house and its accumulation of furnishings were to be used as a museum. However, this was 1946, and Edwardian summer houses were not yet considered important enough to be worthy of preservation, and Dorr not famous enough. Enter John D. Rockefeller Jr., who had become the park's largest source of funding and gifts of land, and who had his own very definite vision of the Park's style and future. Rockefeller, the man who restored Williamsburg, wrote letters to the park authorities giving his firm opinion that no one would be interested in seeing such a house and that it would be a waste of resources. For a time after Dorr's death, the house was used as official guest housing for the Park, but there was some sort of scandal about Secretary Stinson having a vacation there, and the place was soon after emptied and torn down.

In other words, when the bureaucratic mind is involved, it's amazing anything survives at all. Anything.

The Down East Dilettante said...

PS, Kellsboro, as to the tennis court cottage, better hurry---it looks as if the charming Regency chinoiserie porch is fast deteriorating also.

I remember once reading an early 20th century article about the landscaping of a country estate. The writer carefully described the process of choosing the gravel for the drives, carefully mixing several colors of gravel from different sources to arrive at the tone that best suited the design and plant colors and architecture. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

archibuff is 100% on target about political cronyism. What steams me is that all the land that is purchased for open space on the north shore is inaccessible because you cannot park your car anywhere near the land. Yet political party bosses like Mondello and his family can mysteriously buy land at rock bottom prices and have them become preserves the next week.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

DED is the movie worth watching on its own? How much is shown of the court and did they also use the house?

The Down East Dilettante said...

HPHS---the movie stars and was directed and written by the superb Elaine May and you even have to ask if it's worth watching??? Ebert gave it four stars, and Walter Matthau is superb.

LOL, It would be worth watching even if it were filmed in Dubuque Iowa.

But, if all you're interested in is seeing the house, yes, you will be well rewarded---

Zach said...

archibuff...I've a good one for you...

Back in the summer of 2008 I was at one of the county owned properties having a conversation with the caretaker. He told me a story of when their lawnmower had broken down and he needed to get it fixed but there was only one shop he was allowed to take it to (I assume as designated by the county workers union) and this shop was on the south shore.

So he put the lawn mower in the county owned van they have, which has commercial plates, and set out. But he quickly realized he couldn't take the parkway because of the commercial plates and thus was required to take back roads the entire way making the trip take something like an hour and a half to get there.

He leaves the lawnmower at the shop and returns back to the north shore. Days later he heads back down to the shop to pick up the lawnmower only to discover that the shop didn't have the lawn mower anymore...it had been moved to some other shop in some other town for no particular reason. He then spent much of the afternoon tracking it down, finally returning it to the county property by early evening.

All to fix a lawnmower. All because of county rules/obligations. True story.

Anonymous said...

On the topic of North Shore estates on film, a portion of "The Sentinel" (1977) was filmed at Oak Knoll in Mill Neck. Both the interior and exterior was used. You can see Oak Knoll in Part 1 on Youtube @ 8 min. 46 sec....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWsOHRkuVUA

Patricia said...

To continue the movie theme, some of you may have seen the notice that the townhouse used in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is for sale. (This is the movie's 50th anniversary year!)

You can see a gallery of photos at http://www.nbcnewyork.com/blogs/open-house/
but brace yourself for image 6 of 7. There is an image I wish I'd never seen -- a huge flat screen TV used as a fireplace screen. At first I wondered why such a photo would be used -- some big clunky TV in front of a beautiful fireplace and then I had the sad realization that for many this is a good thing -- in fact, the best of both worlds! You get a beautiful ornate fireplace PLUS you get your flat screen. I can just hear the Corcoran sales rep crowing, "And see your flat screen fits perfectly to complement this fireplace."

If you follow the link, you have to scroll down a bit, past the various celebrity buys and sells, but it's there on the opening page.

archibuff said...

A New Leaf is a comedy classic with many scenes inside Welwyn and also scenes shot at Frederick Guest's beautiful Templeton mansion. Must watch viewing for any Old Long Island fan.

And Zack, I know only too well. I could tell stories all day long. When in High School, I worked for a time at both Planting Fields and Target Rock Preserve in Lloyd Harbor and I tell you it doesnt matter whether its Nassau County or State or Federal ownership, the incompetence level is astounding.

The Coe estate Planting Fields is a State owned arboretum, but if it wasnt for the non-profit Friends of the Arts Foundation which has managed the restoration of much of the property, Planting Fields would most certainly resemble the Sands Point Preserve, with crumbling mansions and poorly maintained grounds. Back then everyday, the head groundskeepers at Planting Fields, our wonderful state employees by the way, would take their trucks after lunch and park under a quiet shade tree and fall asleep for the rest of the afternoon. Imagine all the maintenance work that wasnt done over all these years and tax dollars wasted?

At Target Rock, the well built Eberstadt mansion was utilized as a visitor center with exhibitions and displays until the US Fish and Wildlife Service decided to abandon the mansion and let it sit empty for years. The interiors, with only some peeling paint were in perfect condition and the brick, concrete and steel home could have stood for a 100 years. The preserve however cited their blanket mission statement that their job was to preserve wildlife not buildings and tore the perfectly good and useable structure down in the 1990's. That's great conservation for you. Laughably about a year ago, the same preserve now is petitioning for funds to construct a new visitor center with exhibition space and facilities for lectures, etc. A few million of taxpayer dollars will be spent I am sure. Such incompetence and arrogance and wastefullness shouldnt come as any surpise but it still is hard to accept.

Now go watch A New Leaf.