Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Life is but a walking shadow...that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more."

I did a little Long Island tour yesterday with an old house pal. Creeping down an overgrown lane called Whitney Phipps Garvan Road - one not really even open to traffic - we came across the back gate to Roslyn House. This was Francis P. Garvan's place in Old Westbury, sandwiched between his neighbors the Whitneys and the Phipps. The Whitney place is now the Old Westbury Country Club, whose 1940s-era mansion (the original was razed) is much disfigured by club additions. The Phipps house, called Spring Hill, was demolished in the 1960s, but the estate survived as open land until just recently. It's being subdivided as I write. The Garvan place, called Roslyn House, was pulled down in 1974 and the estate is now a subdivision called Stone Arches. That old gate in the second image is buried in a patch of surviving woods on abandoned Whitney Phipps Garvan Rd. It is evocative to say the least, facing a line of subdivision backyards through a screen of trees across the lane, while behind it, almost obscured by wild underbrush and unkempt forest, are glimpses of tony new-ish houses in Stone Arches. Some unknown vandal sprayed blue paint on the sign, but it still says, in barely readable lettering, "Mrs. F.P.Garvan Private, No Trespassing." The top image is of now vanished Roslyn House, to which that old gate once led. The next is of the gate itself buried in woods. The third image is of Edgewood, the Flagler house up here in Millbrook, probably taken about 1903. Yesterday's trip down Whitney Phipps Garvan Lane brought it to mind. The fourth and last image shows the same view today, minus Edgewood, which was pulled down in the early 1970s. Unlike the places in Old Westbury, the original 200 acre Flagler estate - minus the mansion - is basically intact. It's owned by two people, each of whom owns half of it.


  1. Like you, I also want to travel to different places and see how beautiful they are. These ancient houses look very familiar to me. Do they still exist? Love the way it was built; so unique and classy, most especially the roofing. =)

  2. I stayed at Roslyn House for a long weekend in 1958 when I went with my best high school friend, Mary Jane Garvan (daughter of Anthony Garvan) to visit her grandmother, Mabel, that summer. Needless to say it was an elegant place and stayed in my memory all these years.