The house, on Long Island, was built between 1899 and 1902 for Clarence Hungerford Mackay as a weekend/summer home 20 miles east of New York City. The Mackay fortune was from a silver strike in Virginia City, Nevada found by Clarence's father, John William Mackay. John later invested in telegraph and cable companies to gain a fortune estimated at $500 million by 1902 when he died and left everything to Clarence.The house was a collaboration between Standford White (architect) and Clarence's wife, Katherine Duer Mackay. She asked White for books about French chateaux and then later sent him a sketch of a proposed first floor plan with the suggestion he study the Chateau de Maisons by Francois Mansart (1642), seen below. White followed through and based the design on this chateau with a mix of other influences. The house was so expensive that multi-millionaire Clarence wrote White ,"don't suggest any statues of any additions, as I don't want another thing at all"
There is a book about the estate, which I have not seen that you can find HERE on Amazon.
The original estate was originally comprised of 688 acres. The landscape architect Guy Lowell was brought in to do the landscape. The tallest hill on long island, overlooking hempstead harbor, was flattened to create a view from the back terrace, seen above. I guess they just don't build them like they used to!
Unfortuantely the house and stables were demolished (by hardcore dynamite!) in 1947. The blog, Old Long Island, which I love, has featured the existing estate 6 times. Today the property has Roslyn High School, Roslyn A.N.G. Station and a housing development. The stone main drive entry still exists, now leading to the town pool which utilizes the old entry gate as a snack stand! The water tower, designed by Mckim, Mead and White, stands in the middle of the housing development. An original statue of a horse and rider is now at the front of the Roslyn High School. Four equestrian statues designed by Henri-Leon Greber were saved and sent to Kansas City, Missouri where they are still located in the Country Club Plaza, seen here below.Clarence's life reads like a soap opera. Besides divorcing his wife in 1914 (she ran off with his doctor in 1910, also leaving the children) -he gained and lost fortunes and befriended fascinating celebrities. His 2nd wife was the opera singer Anna Case whom he wouldn't marry till his first wife died in 1930, despite beginning to date her in 1916 because of his strong catholic faith.
The one thing Clarence Mackey is known for to this day is donating the Mackay trophy in 1911 which is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space museum here in DC. The award is given each year by the United States Air force for the 'most meritorious flight of the year'
You can see great vintage photos of the interior online HERE
History about the house and the family can be found HERE