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A Look Back, Castles on the Hudson

We flashback to a show that ran on A&E called “America’s Castles.”  This particular episode focused on castles build on the Hudson River.  The first castle was Lyndhurst, build by the Gould family and J Gould known as a robbery baron.  It was a family retreat.  A true castle, just 20 miles north of NYC outside Tarrytown.  Purchased in 1880, this 40-room gothic castle, on about 40 acres.  Seasonal house for the family.  They used it in spring and first part of summer.  Then would return for the first part of fall only.  Used as a getaway from the city.  Lyndhurst also housed the country’s largest private greenhouse.  19 thousand square feet.

Vanderbilt Mansion on Hudson River
Corbis via Getty Images

The next mansion featured was right here, the Vanderbilt mansion.  Build by Fredrick, known as the quiet Vanderbilt.  Fredrick and his wife would do charity work for local people in Hyde Park.  He would purchase the property in 1895.  At that time about 80 river estates were owned by the rich between Albany and NYC.  Fredrick purchased 600 acres in Hyde Park, now known as the current day Vanderbilt estate.   There was a preexisting mansion on the site of the current estate.  The mansion was unsafe so it was rebuilt in 1899 and took two years.  Fredrick and his wife couldn’t have kids, so the estate was used for parties.  Fredrick, made the mansion comfortable, elegant but comfortable.  900 books in the library.  Fredrick would live his last 12 years by himself after his wife died, he passed in 1939.

JD Rockefeller, one of America’s wealthiest man.  He purchased 4000 acres in Westchester on what the natives called, Kykuit, Indian for look out.  He built a 6 story – 40 room, Georgia styled mansion.  It took 6 years to build.  The three generations of Rockefeller’s put their touch on the Kykuit.   SR focused on landscape, while JR on the architecture and the youngest, Nelson on the art.  Kykuit is known for its   famous Italian styled terraces.  In the 1960’s, Nelson turned the basement into an art gallery.

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