Saturday, November 20, 2010

Out of the frying pan

Unable to hold on to Paxhurst (see 5 posts below), we sold it under duress and rented something even grander. Lindley Hall was originally called Crow's Nest. It sits on a promontory at the south end of Tuxedo Lake and, but for the growth of the forest below, would have a stunning view all the way up Tuxedo Lake. The architect was Whitney Warren, the Beaux Arts trained "cousin" of the Vanderbilts (it was a tenuous cousin-ship), whose most famous project was probably Grand Central Station. The client was Henry Munroe, a prototypical society banker of the sort ideally suited to Tuxedo Park ca. 1900. The house was given to a Catholic College in the 1940s, and sometime around 1960 it was afflicted with a perfectly horrible classroom addition which, happily, extends off the rear of the building and isn't overly obvious. The cost of demolishing it has intimidated subsequent owners ever since the house reverted to single family use. It was still there, the last I knew, like a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend," to quote Prince Charles on the proposed modern addition to the British National Gallery. Two years after moving here we were so snarled up in a ruinous lawsuit in New York, that we were forced to decamp to Millbrook. My favorite statistic on this house was that it had 17 fireplaces. The experience of living in it was worth every worried moment.

1 comment:

  1. Just to relive you memories of Lindley Hall one more time ... the property is listed (2011) with a Palm Beach-based broker at a lofty $7.25M. An amusing remark by the agent being that it is "priced to sell at" that rate. Nothing is changing hands in TP at that price at present so its rather ambitious.

    Anyhow they have a video of the property:

    You have a wonderful blog and true appreciation for so many white elephants of grandeur. I cannot get enough of them myself and have for years enjoyed your book on the Vanderbilt 'architectural aspirations'.