Friday, May 4, 2012

'The Creeks'

 'The Creeks', the Albert Herter estate designed by Grosvenor Atterbury c. 1899 in East Hampton.  These 1913 photos were taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston.  Click HERE and HERE for more on 'The Creeks'.  Click HERE to see 'The Creeks' on google earth and HERE on bing.

Photos from the Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).


archibuff said...

Looks as if the elaborate circular heather garden has bit the dust, but its one of the relatively few large intact estate parcels still out on the east end. Great floor plans with loads of acute angles and varied sight lines.

Since a recent post featured a long gone Atterbury design for James Byrne in Oyster Bay, can't help but note that the Byrne home had an incredible exterior rich with details and an equally fascinating set of floor plans. This home while nice, is not all that special IMO and yet it has gotten so much publicity over the years for being an exotic, magical and unusual combination of home and garden. From the views on Bing, I just don't see it. Is it a beautiful property? Yes. Is it the most memorable and unique one on the east end? No. Is it all hype?

Am I missing something here Atterbury fans? This home doesn't appear to be his best.

The Ancient said...

archibuff --

The house is -- quite literally -- only a shell of what it was, and most of the gardens seem to have been destroyed.

Assorted links --

(A 1991 NYT story, pre-Perelman. "Under its original owners, the Creeks was a showplace with extravagant Victorian gardens including a solid acre of blue irises, tended by 30 Japanese gardeners.")

(Pictures of some of the plantings made by Alfonso Ossorio.)

(2011 obituary of Ted Dragon, partner of Alfonso Ossorio.)

(Scroll to the bottom for a few interesting interior shots.)

(Review of Philistines at the Hedgerow. "Following Ossorio's death, Dragon sold The Creeks to Perelman, who gutted the house and discarded all of Ossorio's outdoor sculptures (these 'conglomerations' are now worth more than six figures each). As Gaines writes, 'The worst aspect is that The Creeks was so rich in culture and history that even the richest man in New York State has managed to cheapen it. To buy a house is one thing, to inhabit it is another.'")

(Current aerial view.)

(View of the pond from the rear of the house.)

archibuff said...

Thanks for the links. very informative

Doug Floor Plan said...

Of the Grosvenor Atterbury work posted on this website my favorite is 'Waldene' followed by the James Byrne house. Thanks to Ancient's links today I conclude that a material part of the attraction of 'The Creeks' was the feeling you had just being there; sort of like explaining why you like your grandparents' house so much. & like people, some places are more photogenic than others.

Sorry, I must have taken my wax philosophical pill today.

BillinMI said...

I so appreciated the links - being a devoted conifer lover, learning about the composition of these gardens was wonderful! And despite the Perlman saga with the estate, what remains of that wonderful landscape is beautiful in that aerial shot.

Anonymous said...

In 1989 I was employed at Peter Marino Architects. Two of his clients acquired both The Creeks in South Hampton and Pickfair in Beverly Hills. My thrill to learn I would work on the projects was soon turned to horror as I saw the plans and then the actual destruction of this icon American estates.
I also saw exceptional pieces of furniture and textiles “re-worked” that secretary too deep? no problem, take off 4”, that rug too wide?reweave.
Gosh! The excessive lack of charm of nouveau riche!