Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Westbury House

In 1921, after purchasing a preexisting farmhouse, J. Watson Webb and wife Electra moved from 'Woodbury House' to Old Westbury.  Pictured above is the house before they began extensive enlargements to suit their needs.  The estate included stables and a James O'Connor designed playhouse with an indoor tennis court and pool (it's a fair guess he was also involved in the enlargements).  Much of the main residence and the entire playhouse have since been demolished but the stables were converted into a private residence seen HERE.  Many more photos to follow, all courtesy of Old Grey Dog.

Click HERE to see the estate in a 1966 aerial shot.



The Down East Dilettante said...

Much better.

This unassuming house inspired the William McCormick Blairs to commission their famous 'Colonial' house at Lake Bluff, IL from David Adler. Though I have to run right now and can't verify it exactly, the herring bone louvered front door of the Blair house either copied the front door here and/or was a gift from Mrs. Webb. And of course, as is well known, it was a visit to Mrs. Webbs 'Brick House' in Shelburne (and the same week to Henry Sleeper's 'Beauport') that set Henry Dupont on the Americana collecting spree that became Winterthur). Mrs. Webb's unpretentious country style had far-reaching reverberations.

Old Grey Dog--send me an email---I've lost yours

Anonymous said...

Is that a sky-light in picutre 4?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that they only lived at Woodbury House for 6 years before decamping to OW.

Is it possible a wing from this house stands on OW Rd? The wikimapia page on the Playhouse has a link marked 'outbuilding' that shows a small building identical to the wing in today's third photo. From the second photo it would appear this wing was at one time attached to the left of the original farmhouse in the first photo.


Zach L. said...

^ Good eye...definitely looks like a match to me.

Anonymous said...

After 80 or 90 some odd years this rambling place was a glorified tear down, Not impressed.

Anonymous said...

The Chevron Door story about the Webb's and the Blair's is kooky! The truth was already in print by the Art Institute, then bizarrely undone by the museum in their own publication on Adler - manufacturing this folklore. The actual design lineage of this door is not surprising, and very typical of the era.

Certainly DED is not at fault.

Anonymous said...

My grandfather was their main care taker of the stables and my grandmother was the cook for all the care takers they lived in the little cottage near the stables. My dad and his sister grew up on the estate. I have old footage of my aunts wedding and reception in 1940 on the estate Mr.and Mrs.Webb were very kind to have it at there home. The house was very beautiful from what I remember going there to visit as a child .

Unknown said...

My great-great-grandfather who immigrated from Naples as a teenager worked for "Watson Webb" his whole life. I believe he likely worked on this estate. I'm in a years long project researching my family's history. If anyone has any additional information about this house I'd like to hear about it.
Please contact me at frankienap@gmail.com