If you are a movie buff with a keen eye for set locations, you may recognize this Gothic Revival country house near Tarrytown, New York. It has been featured in several movies like: House of Dark Shadows (1970); Night of Dark Shadows (1971); and, The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t a.k.a The Night Dracula Saved the World which aired on ABC and later the Disney Channel in the 1990’s.
This regal/slightly spooky limestone structure is today known as Lyndhurst. But it wasn’t always called that.
Built in 1838 and designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, the manor was first named “Knoll“.
It was commissioned by former New York City mayor William Paulding, Junior. Cynical members of the press nicknamed it “Paulding’s Folly” because of its resemblance to a European castle.
The second owner, George Merritt, renamed the house “Lyndenhurst” after the estate’s many linden trees. To him, the castle wasn’t big enough so he hired the original architect and doubled the house’s size!
In 1880 Merritt sold the home to Jay Gould (not to be confused with Jay Gatsby.) Gould was the one who shortened the estate’s name to “Lyndhurst”. He used the estate as his summer home until he died in 1892.
Gould’s daughter Anna eventually inherited the property. Upon her death in 1961, Lyndhurst was bequeathed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is now open to the public as a museum.
Lyndhurst is notable for its extensive collection of original furnishings and decorative arts.
Have a look inside what is known as one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the Americas….
Lyndhurst stands apart from the other grand mansions along the Hudson River in New York because its room are all built to a smaller scale. The rooms and hallways are narrow – but tall, vaulted and ornamented.
Cathedral like, perhaps:
Keep in mind that most of the furnishings date back to the home’s early days, including the books and bookshelves in the library:
Below is a historic photo of the Lyndhurst library circa 1930:
If you look closely you can see the same chairs, table and pedestal globe!
The bedrooms are remarkable because they remain largely in the state the home’s last owners left them.
Above is The South Bedroom which was used by Jay Gould himself. The bed was designed by the home’s architect Alexander Jackson Davis for the second owners (the Merritt family). It even has their monogram on the footboard.
Below is the room used by Anna Gould who actually married into French nobility and became a Duchess. This room is said to reflect her acquired European tastes:
Outside, the property features 67 acres of park-like grounds maintained to perfection.
The “park” was actually laid-out by a Victorian era landscape designer named Ferdinand Mangold who was hired my Mr. Merritt.
The resultant landscape was the first such park along the Hudson River. It provides an outstanding example of 19th-century landscape design, with rolling lawns accented with shrubs and specimen trees, a curving entrance drive that reveals “surprise” views, and a remarkably large [390-foot-long (120 m)] steel-framed conservatory (the first in the United States).
The estate has been designated a National Historic Landmark since 1966.
If you would like to read more about the history of Lyndhurst, please visit the home’s National Trust Historic Site webpage.
[Thanks to Tim for telling me about this gem!!]