Thursday, August 9, 2012

'Ormston' Aerial

An aerial of 'Ormston', the John Edward Aldred estate designed by Bertram G. Goodhue between 1913-1918 in Lattingtown.  Click HERE to see the brochure from when 'Ormston' was for sale.  Click HERE to see the estate on google earth and HERE on bing.  Photo from American Country Homes of Today, 1928.

32 comments:

magnus said...

Although Tudoresque architecture typically doesn't appeal to me, this house and property are pretty spectacular. And, very thankfully, it is kept in near perfect condition by the Monks who reside there now.

Apparently, Aldred weathered the Depression fairly well, but came a cropper in the late 1930's when utilities investments he had made in Germany and/or Italy were nationalized (I have never been able to uncover definitive proof of this, but the basic story has been repeated to me so many times and by so many disparate sources, that I believe that it is in large part correct).

In any event,a grandson of George Baker who lived directly next door to the Aldreds told me a story that has always haunted me: On the eve of leaving Ormston, with the auctioneers due the next day, Aldred called his neighbor George Baker to ask if, perhaps, the Bakers might like to purchase anything from Ormston before the sale. George Baker apparently answered with a very curt "No" and hung up the phone. The Baker grandson attributed it to the fact that the Aldreds were viewed as not sufficiently grand by their neighbors. It is a strange commentary on American snobbism where a fortune made one generation previously would look down on the self made man.

The Down East Dilettante said...

It has ever been thus in the social wars---last one in tries to close the door behind him. Even in our little village, one sees amazing examples of inexplicable snobbery and cruelty---often by people who are of inferior human qualities despite their 'standing'---who often as a result miss out on some interesting people. The current social war in our town is a rich, and very nice couple, whose crime is building a large dock---their neighbors on either side are trying to block it, in a shockingly mean and rude way, with nasty public statements, and attempted blackball at the yacht club. As you may have guessed, both neighbors already have docks. Hypocrisy plays a huge role in this game.

I'm also not particularly a Tudor kinda guy, but this really is an extraordinarily lovely place by one of the best architects of the day. For those who may have missed it, Big Old Houses gives a satisfyingly thorough tour here: http://bigoldhouses.blogspot.com/2012/07/a-secret-world-in-lattingtown.html

Kellsboro Jack said...

Magnus, an interesting if not somehow disappointing tale (re: George F. Baker's persona non grata towards Aldred upon losing his fortune)

I've been enjoying the extensive looks that John Foreman has managed to secure and convey with his blog for some time. He seems to have even stepped it up even more in 2012. (His co-authored book on the Architectural Aspirations of the Vanderbilt family has long been a favorite of mine.)

From his recent top to bottom, room to room, exploration of Ormston House I have to say this is one Gilded Age manse I don't worry about being lost in the near term.

The religious order has done a far better than average job to retaining the estate feel without leaving a viewer the feeling its become institutional. The Poor House in Tuxedo Park, which served as a nunnery for many decades, is another such example of it being kept in tact.

Glen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glen said...

Two majestic estates. Two days in a row. Both extant, well preserved and fully in use. It is a great day. Add in Clayton from earlier in the week and it is a great week. Thanks Zach!

The Down East Dilettante said...

In other news, the top floors of the Woolworth Building go residential: Oh for a few extra million for a pied a terre:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/realestate/top-floors-of-woolworth-building-to-be-remade-as-luxury-apartments.html?hpw

magnus said...

Re: The Woolworth Building- I posted this comment on HPHS's wonderful blog so please forgive me if you saw it there-

About 15 or 20 years ago, The Woolworth Corporation, by then Foot Locker, was vacating the last of its offices in the Woolworth Building, and they sent to William Doyle Galleries the entire contents of Frank Woolworth's office which they had apparently kept in storage since the old man's death. It was an amazing collection of very heavily carved and elaborately upholstered furniture in the Empire style, and included Woolworth's gold colored stick telephone. Pretty it may not have been, but it was an astonishingly complete example of over the top plutocrat taste of the last century. I only wonder what they did with the marble walled office itself.

Kellsboro Jack said...

Magnus, what was it with the Woolworth's love marble? ;)

Although for the record it appears that Richard Woolworth's Westchester Co. mansion 'Northshire' (on the market now) by Mott Schmidt in 1934 is sans any marble. Go figure.

The most unique aspect as a result of the recent renovations: a heated indoor pool framed within a Lord & Burnham greenhouse

http://www.houlihanlawrence.com/real-estate/propertydetail/3208238/North-Salem/58-Cat-Ridge-Rd-North-Salem-NY-10560

Anonymous said...

That North Salem property is quite an elegant home built in the midst of the great depression. Presumably the families finances were not severely impacted by the times.

The Down East Dilettante said...

The descendants of FW Woolworth's brother Norman---Freddy, Richard, et al, had a large summer compound and horse farm here in Maine, at Monmouth. No marble to be seen, although one of the houses contains woodwork rescued from 18th century Sparhawk Hall at Kittery Point. The family has been selling off for quite a few years now---the latest house in the compound to go on the market is this one:

http://www.neighborcity.com/property/1040-Route-135-Monmouth-ME-4259-1018026-12128115/

Another is now a B&B:

http://www.riseandshinebb.com/

Magnus, your mention of Woolworth's office furniture, and his likely dismantled office brings up the sad realization that in collecting period rooms, museums often overlook some of the most interesting and complete

archibuff said...

Magnus, a link showing a number of interior photos and to the office as it appeared in 2011. Looks like the interior should make a spectacular apartment.

http://tribecacitizen.com/2011/12/18/inside-the-woolworth-building/

Kellsboro Jack said...

TDED, as you well know, it was the Woolworth's family compound in Monmouth, Maine, that was famously robbed of dozens of paintings back in 1973 by New England's most celebrated thief - Myles Connor. While works by Andrew Wyeth and NC Wyeth were filched, Connor missed out on the mega treasure trove of works by Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer and Childe Hassam among others. Those painting were on display elsewhere on the compound.

The compound was built in the 1920's, and had been at its height centered on several hundred acres with 26 buildings, including horse stables, a private theater, and a bowling alley.

magnus said...

Thank you Archibuff. I wonder where in the building the office was and what if anything survives.

magnus said...

And Magnus- "period" rooms seem to be wholly out of fashion with museum curators today, dismissed, and probably rightly so, as the pastiches that almost all of them are. I was recently at a talk given by an eminent historian during which the Wrightsman Rooms at the Metropolitan Museum, deeply beloved by so many, including me, received a scathing review as not museum worthy. Sad then, as you point out, a virtually intact interior like Woolworths office, should slip through our fingers.

Anonymous said...

see page 96 for pics on Oheka and Ormston

http://www.nps.gov/frla/upload/FA-Aiglon-Photograph-collection.pdf

chipon1 said...

tremendous photo's of the OLI favorites and many others, a real treat

archibuff said...

Absolutely a fantastic collection of aerials. Really shows the estates and their surrounding gardens, mature landscaping and neighboring farms and the overall rural character of Long Island at the turn of the twentieth century. Amazing views of Knollwood and Harbor Hill surrounded by a virtual forest.

The Down East Dilettante said...

The office referred to in the Tribeca Citizen link as Woolworth's is not the same one I've always associated with Woolworth---the marble office with the Napoleonic furnishings Magnus referenced, seen here at HPHS

http://halfpuddinghalfsauce.blogspot.com/2012/06/f-w-woolworths-tower-office.html

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Aiglon Aerial Photo Collection. I am going to be quite busy for the next hour looking through all of them.

Anonymous said...

What they said.....tremendous shots of many OLI favorites from their heyday. Great link

Anonymous said...

since you all like the Aiglon pics link I had sent
here is another list of great shots from Dallin
mostly Penn. and mid atlantic..enjoy

http://cdm16038.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/search/collection/p268001uw/searchterm/Estates

Anonymous said...

since you all like the Aiglon pics link I had sent
here is another list of great shots from Dallin
mostly Penn. and mid atlantic..enjoy

http://cdm16038.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/search/collection/p268001uw/searchterm/Estates

The Down East Dilettante said...

The Aiglon link included a picture of the Frederick Vanderbilt estate at Bar Harbor, invaluable to me at the moment, so thanks!

In yet other news, the current issue of Architectural Digest features the very respectful renovation and update of the Ogden Phipps House by Delano & Aldrich. For once not a gut job, interior details intact and respected.

http://www.architecturaldigest.com/decor/2012-09/steven-gambrel-old-westbury-coastal-home-slideshow#slide=1

Zach said...

The kitchen was gutted and the half floor servants wing was eliminated to give the ceiling twice the height.

But if you had seen the former kitchen you would agree it was necessary to remove. Plus it had a handful of extremely vintage appliances.

Looks like they kept the wallpaper in the dining room too.

Kellsboro Jack said...

I cannot image the jaw dropping impact these grand estates - from the architecture to the landscapes - must have had upon those seldom few who could view them from above.

Already limited in the number of persons who had entry to them, during their zenith, the number of aerial viewers who could see just how sprawling they were from above were even fewer.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Zach, I love the old servant run kitchens in these houses, but wouldn't want to cook in one. I think the new vaulted ceiling room is quite handsome.

I recently was in a grand house here, that I used to know well under its previous owner, and the new owners took me out to the old servants wing to show the changes they'd made. Much as I missed the old hotel quality pantries and serving and prep areas, I cannot deny the new space was much friendlier

ChipSF said...

Interesting shot of Ormston and lots of wonderful links today.
Kellsboro - I am ready to move right into that Mott Schmidt house! Anon 7:49 have been mesmerized by the Aiglon photos for 30 mins. now have to look again - thanks! DED - The Ogden Phipps house re-do is super - I feel like I have seen pictures of the original interiors somewhere but I can't remember where....?

The Down East Dilettante said...

Chip SF---you probably saw the original interiors in the real estate listing ads a year or two back.

Also, there are some shots of the empty, yet to be renovated rooms in Steven Gambrel's book, published last year.

Bill 46 said...

Re: Welwyn, I always wondered about the gardens down the lawn towards the pine forest. I just discovered a article in Country Life April 1933, "The Gardens of Welwyn", but would love to see an aerial photo or diagram of the gardens, they must have been wonderful.

bill46 said...

I remember back in the late '60s when the monastery used to hold an annual fair open to all. I especially loved the teahouse above the garden and tunnel beneath it. There also was a large walled garden with a viewing tower at one corner. I loved the dramatic entry gates opening to the courtyard, with a glass lantern suspended over the gate arch.

Kellsboro Jack said...

A timely aside, sorry about veering off course, the current issue of Town & Country magazine has a feature on the younger generation of Woolworth heirs who stay up at the Monmouth, Maine compound.

bill46 said...

During the annual Fair tour we were told that the wood paneling in the great hall came from Sherwood Forest.