Thank the automobile for transforming the North Shore from a rural countryside into a place where the wealthy would drive from Manhattan for repose. At the turn of the 20th century, these magnates built compounds to suit their fancies, filling them with treasures imported from Europe and commissioning gardens that created a new style in landscape design.
More than 1,200 of these grand estates once lined the North Shore, author Paul Mateyunas writes in his new book, "Long Island's Gold Coast" (Arcadia, $21.99). Now only about 400 remain, with "several houses still disappearing each year" to new construction.
Some of the great homes, whether they still stand or not, are featured in the book. A few of its 240 grainy, often haunting black-and-white images are being published for the first time. They include Sands Point's Rumsey House, a McKim, Mead & White design. "Those photographs have never been out of the family's hands," says Mateyunas, a North Shore architectural historian. The 1927 chateau went on the market for the first time last year. Listed for $8.9 million, it is now in contract.
It is not the only house in the book now for sale.
"It's a lucky time for buyers because there's a variety of homes available," says Mateyunas, also an agent with North Shore-oriented Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty. "In the past, you might have had only one or two available at a time."
Here are a few on the market, shown alongside archival photos of the homes from the book.
Built between 1891 and 1894 by Gage & Wallace, the home later underwent renovations when columned porches were removed and the third floor and right wing demolished "to make it more manageable," according to the book. The 22-room house, now on 14.62 acres of the estate's original 40 acres, is listed for $7.888 million.
Wendy Osinoff Sutton and Ellen Zipes, Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, 516-626-7600
This 1916 Mediterranean home has custom ironwork and a brick archway at the entrance. Designed by Harrie Lindeberg for publisher Nelson Doubleday, the home overlooks Oyster Bay. The 13.33-acre property, listed for $14 million, has formal gardens designed by the firm of the Olmsted brothers, sons of the Central Park designer.
Bonnie Devendorf, Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, 516-759-4800
Architect William Aldrich designed this estate for brother, Winthrop, who founded Chase National Bank. Once 106 acres, the now-7.23-acre property had a vegetable garden, chicken house and greenhouse, "which enabled the Aldriches to have fresh eggs, produce and flowers," Mateyunas writes. Listed for $7.588 million, the home features 12 fireplaces.
Aileen Murstein, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 516-621-4336
Delano & Aldrich designed this 20-room house, which was built in 1929 before the stock market crash. "In light of what happened . . . please cease all work," the owners messaged the landscape's designers, the Olmsted brothers. The gardens were completed later. Listed for $4.275 million, the brick home has been restored.
Paul Mateyunas, Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, 516-759-4800
Designed by Horace Trumbauer, this 1918 brick Georgian estate was modeled after Groombridge Place, a historic home in England known for its gardens. "The living room is large enough to construct two Levitt houses inside of it," writes Mateyunas. The staircase and some of the mantels came from the Duke of Cumberland's estate. The house, which is listed for $3.499 million, was the home of sportsman David Dows. The home hosted the village's first election.
Paul Mateyunas, Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, 759-4800