I was out walking in one of the small preserves near where I live. I followed an unmarked trail into the woods and came across some some small ruins. I’d been there before several years before, but had at that time not noticed more ruins down by a pool/pond in the vicinity. So I went down and checked them out. I continued along the trail until eventually I came across this.

Since the days of the Dutch the area where I live has included the sites of many magnificent homes. Most no longer exist. Some have been modified for other purposes and a few remain as abandoned ruins like this one. The owner was a wealthy business man who established a well-known company dedicated to specialized, high-end, hunting, fishing, and camping equipment and clothing. After serving in the army during World War I he bought property in Westchester County, NY. The name he gave to the estate was an acronym of the first letters of the childrens’ names (and curiously also an acronym of my name too). The mansion is a large building with a steel skeleton and granite and fieldstone façade.

Work began in 1925 and was completed two years later. It was first occupied in late January 1928. The house, built on a rocky promontory still stands in the middle of what is now a 22-acre property. At that time, the house had some twenty-five rooms including servant’s quarters. There were four sections with intersecting gables as well as a section with a hipped roof. Some areas were not covered at all. The interior walls were made of cement that laid over a rough course of natural stone. The floors are also cement over steel beams and rebar covered by wood flooring and, in some cases, by tiles. Some of the roofs are slate while others are asphalt shingles.

After the owner died, his wife and daughter moved to New Jersey and the house was unoccupied for several years until it was sold in the early 1940s to a firm doing research on paints. After WWII the building remained empty for more than a decade and became the target of vandals. Among other depredations, they poured left-over paint on the marble floors of the dining room and other rooms in the central part of the house, setting them afire and causing great damage.

In 1964, the building was purchased for $15,000 but the costly and frustrating attempt to restore it ultimately failed and the house was sold again in the late 1990 for $1.5 million. Subsequently an attempt was made to turn it into a conference/retreat center, which also was not successful and and late in 2011 was sold again, reportedly for $3.75 million. As of the date of writing this the mansion remains empty.

Taken with an Olympus OM-D EM-10 and Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42 f3.5-4.6 II

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