A 37-room brick Tudor mansion in Lloyd Harbor and its 6,000-square-foot carriage house are being offered for sale for $7.895 million and $2.2 million, respectively.
Perched on a bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound, Cold Spring Harbor and Oyster Bay, the 37-room Fort Hill manse dates back to 1910 and was restored in recent years by the current owners, with new heating, air conditioning, electric and plumbing.
At the turn of the last century, William John Matheson, a chemist who founded a dye and pigment company that merged with J.P. Morgan's Allied Chemical Company, bought the estate from Anne Coleman Alden, who had commissioned the famed architectural firm McKim, Mead & Bigelow to build her summer residence. Desiring something a bit different, Matheson commissioned Boring & Tilton, architects who designed the buildings at Ellis Island, to build a brick and limestone house in the Tudor style over the McKim structure. The architects added castellated parapets, colonnades and ramparts overlooking the water, to pay homage to the site's earlier incarnation as Fort Franklin during the Revolutionary War. Thus, the name Fort Hill.
There is a semicircular wall with a curved, built-in stone bench designed by Charles McKim. Above the seating area and built into the wall are canon balls, bottles and a headstone of a fallen British soldier, which commemorate the battle fought there in 1781.
Among Fort Hill House's many unusual features are a porte cochère entry, banquet-sized dining room with fresco murals by1930s naval artist Griffith Bailey, high coffered ceilings, linenfold paneling, inlaid floors and intricate mill work. The home's east wing was designed for entertaining, with a grand ballroom, guest suite and solarium. Other selling points are eight fireplaces, five covered porches, an indoor squash court, and a caretaker's suite with office, den, kitchen and four staff bedrooms.
The house has nine bedrooms, nine bathrooms and four half-bathrooms.
There are water views of Oyster Bay and the Long Island Sound from the living room veranda, notable for its brick archways, and the adjoining all-weather solarium with tilting windows and glass ceiling.
The 10-acre property includes a 5,000-square-foot, 16-car garage with two guest apartments and an office, 3 acres of award-winning gardens with old-growth trees, brick walkways, statuary, fountains, sitting areas and a greenhouse, and a lighted staircase that descends to 1,800 feet of beachfront and a deepwater dock.
The property has been on and off the market for a few years, says listing agent Maria Babaev of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. "The current asking price represents a 60 percent discount from the original listing and presents the best value for a Gold Coast waterfront property."
"It sits so proud and tall about 1,000 feet above the water," says Babaev. "It's absolutely magnificent and very unique."
The Carriage House
Built in 1908, a five-bedroom, four-bathroom, two half-bathroom home served as a carriage house to the Matheson estate. The 3.12-acre property includes a cottage, which served as the chauffeur's home and has a bedroom, bathroom, living room, eat-in kitchen and office.
Matheson, who at one point owned about a third of the land along the Lloyd Neck peninsula, came out to Fort Hill from Manhattan on weekends and summers, says owner Jacqueline Iverson. Striving to make his property completely self-sufficient, Matheson built a greenhouse, dairy farm, fruit and vegetable garden, and water tower. Today, only the greenhouse and garden remain.
Architect J. Clinton Mackenzie built the carriage house, says Iverson, adding, "He loved to work with solid concrete. So the majority of our carriage house is about 12 inches of concrete."
One feature of these carriage houses, notes Iverson, is the melding of ornate exteriors with bare-bones interiors.
The mansion sits two houses away from the carriage house, which overlooks the mansion's historic gardens created by Frederick Law Olmsted, who helped design Central Park.
“It’s just the most magical place I’ve seen in the state of New York," says Iverson. "You get transformed immediately. You feel like you’re some place in the countryside of England.”
The house is listed with Lori Sunshine of Sunshine Realtors.