Monday, April 23, 2012

'Poplar Hill' in 1972

 'Poplar Hill', the Frederic B. Pratt estate designed by Charles A. Platt between 1917-1924 in Glen Cove, as pictured abandoned in 1972 before conversion to the Glengariff Nursing Home.  Click HERE for more on 'Poplar Hill' and HERE to see the brochure from when the estate was for sale.  Click HERE to see 'Poplar Hill' on google earth and HERE on bing.  Photographs courtesy of Eddie Crowley.


HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

If you didn't know were this was located you could easily assume somewhere in the French countryside.

magnus said...

At the risk of repetition, I think that this is by far the best of the Pratt houses. Cutting edge it may not be, but it has a charm and almost human scale sadly missing in his brother's houses. contemporary interior photos indicate, however, that the Pratt's didn't go with the French flow inside, opting instead for the conventional English style interiors favored by plutocrats of their era. More's the pity.

Doug Floor Plan said...

The topic at hand: there is something oddly romantic about an abandoned house in decay, probably because it lets you turn it into what you want (a house in the French countryside for example). Thank you Eddie Crowley for sharing these with Zach & the rest of us. It reminds me to wonder what other photographic treasures are out there, in shoe boxes way back on that high closet shelf?

Not the topic at hand: over the weekend HPHS posted some excellent photographs of ‘Wheatly’ & if you scroll down to the picture where the caption reads: “GENERAL VIEW OF BUILDINGS *** The photographer must have climbed the windmill to get this shot***” you’ll see the original building that became the house Zach posted on April 9, 2012. & not to be too judgmental, but I think it looked better as servants’ quarters than a $2.495 million house.

archibuff said...

Great time capsule of an era when LI still had a number of vacant homes waiting new uses or the wrecking crew. While not my favorite Pratt home, I much prefer the Braes and Killenworth for their incorporation of the home into their surrounding gardens and terraces, even Welwyn had a notable landscaping plan, however Poplar Hill does have a nice dignified scale. At least the later institutional addition tried to imitate the scale and proportions of the original facade facing the entrance courtyard, but the nursing facilities depressingly banal early prison ward look for the remaining facades is just bad. A spectacular site high on a hill facing the water and you construct a 4 story eyesore?

HPHS's post is great

Kellsboro Jack said...

Wonderful for sharing Zach - and thanks to Eddie Crowley for sharing these pictures. Nothing beats being able to go back in time if only for a few moments in the morning to see a manor like this 40 years ago.

Poplar Hill even in a semi-abandoned state still looked exceptionally regal.

I still think a fascinating book could be made simply of the many brochures from the archives of Previews (now Coldwell Banker).

The Down East Dilettante said...

Kellsboro, I agree about the Previews brochures. Although various regional collections seem to survive, like the ones from SPLIA that Zach has posted here in the past, it doesn't seem that Coldwell Banker kept an archive, sadly. I've picked a few Maine pieces up on ebay over the years, and a few exist in local historical societies, but many more are lost.

Marvelous photographs.

Kellsboro Jack said...

TDED - it is a shame that the company didn't formally keep an archive of all the brochures let alone the original photographs. Unprecedented access to the unstaged homes of the truly rich and famous.

I'll still assume that some savvy longtime real estate agents have squirreled away some great brochures and bits of information after decades of selling the same homes.

Case in point is the late John K. Turpin of New Jersey. From years of selling some of the finest old estates he (and Barry Thomson) put together a sensational Volume I and II on many of the homes he sold. See the link at Mountain Colony, below. The books are worth seeking out and I'm sure someone at Daniel Gale could do the same ;>

(I've seen their anniversary coffee-table book and it could've been so much better.)

The Ancient said...

Would some some capable person please draw the Pratt Oval on the wiki map?

SEC words: andeGov owitys

Anagram for Ivy Town Dosage, an obscure Dartmouth reference.

magnus said...

And while they're at it, I would love a descrition of the various buildings on Pratt Oval and what their functions were- and became- during the years that it was operational. I have read that the main building (with the clock tower) was the "administrative center" of the Pratt esates. What exactly does that mean? Who worked there and what did they do? and how large was that center hall in which every Long Island flower show took place until the 1940's. The buildings that flanked it have been desribed as the stables for the various Pratt branches. What were they converted to as the automobile was phased in. And I have read that there were cows. Where did they graze and where were they housed and milked?

The remnants of Pratt Oval were still around when I was a child. The buildings were all there, although horribly run down and either abandoned or given over to industrial use (the Mary Chess perfume company was in one- its signature fragrance Tuberose, still reminds me of my step-mother who always wore it). I wish I had asked these questions then, as I'm sure there were plenty of people around who knew the answers firsthand.

security word of the day: Nguabi Mbutal- Foreign Minister from a West African kleptocracy. Cousin of the President for Life.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Magnus, your security word definition has me rolling on the floor. (and oh, those questions we didn't ask--my father died a few weeks ago, and already there are many)

I was idly looking online at some pictures in a nice little book about Glen Cove, and found the lower picture on this page, purporting to be full grown trees transported to The Braes. As one can see, the house is actually the Rockefeller house at Pocantico. The picture is courtesy of Hicks Nursery itself, but obviously their archive labeling needs scrutiny (

Anonymous said...

Pratt Oval in position relatively close to accurate via historic aerials I hope can always be adjusted when additional photos of the main admin bldg are posted

Zach L. said... mean they didn't re-clad The Braes in stone just for the photograph?

The Ancient said...

Anon 1:50 --

Thanks! That's a big help.

The Ancient said...

Earlier today, the wiki map was annotated with the Pratt Oval, with a reasonable version of the footprints of the surrounding buildings. Last time I looked, it's mostly gone. I seem to remember there was some passing discussion of the problems attached to map amendments.

So, how can we arrange for the Pratt Oval with its surrounding outbuildings to be permanently a part of the map?

ChipSF said...

This has to be my favorite of all the Pratt houses. Such a gem, like so many C. Platt houses and at least it still remains.

And yes I agree with Ancient & Magnus - any further info. on the PRatt Oval would be much appreciated!

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Ancient I created the two visible tags showing whats left. I checked and no others show when you change the map to show deleted places. I don't recall ever seeing more. They do frown on adding outlines of nonexistent structures. I think I can legitimately outline the the oval shape of the field because that is still visible.

Is that whole stretch of buildings to the east all original? I do remember LGB made some comment about the outline and I shrunk it.