A 1914 Spanish Revival Colonial home with an unusual pedigree is on the market in Huntington Bay for $1.325 million. The annual property taxes are $19,320.
The house is one of five model homes built by the Bustanoby Brothers, who, in 1906 had enlarged a hotel on the bay, calling it Chateau des Beaux Arts, according to Toby Kissam, a member of the Huntington Historical Society. After adding a waterfront casino on the site, the brothers devised a plan to build a group of homes next door that would enjoy the services of the resort.
The entrepreneurs’ plans to build Beaux Arts Park, a development of 100 homes in the Spanish Colonial/Tudor Revival style, were quashed by familial infighting, which eventually bankrupted their business.
Legend has it that tunnels were built between the casino, hotel and other buildings, because the casino was frequently raided during Prohibition, notes John Crousillat, who owns the home.
"The wealthy people during the '20s didn’t want to get caught by the police, so they would shuttle them through these tunnels to get away from the raids," says Crousillat.
The hotel and casino were sold and went through various iterations as Huntington Bay Lodge, Nathan Hale Golf and Marine Club, Huntington Bay Club, and Huntington Crescent Club, according to Robert Hughes, Huntington town historian. The hotel was demolished in the 1930s to provide parking for Crescent Club. The casino, battered by tidal waters over the years, was razed in 1958. Today, the Head of the Bay Club sits on the site.
The same architecture firm that designed Oheka Castle, Delano & Aldrich, designed his house, as well as the home behind it, which was owned by actress Marion Davies, the mistress of William Randolph Hearst, who entertained Charlie Chaplin and other Hollywood luminaries there, Crousillat says.
With four floors of living space, the six-bedroom, 4½-bath stucco home has a red clay roof, high ceilings with wood beams, crown moldings, stucco walls, and pecky cypress-paneled walls in the dining room and library, which has built-in bookcases and cabinetry. The primary suite has a terrace, fireplace and built-in drawers, and the other bedrooms have built-in bookcases. There’s a lower-level recreation room/den, bedroom, bathroom and storage area.
Recent renovations include refinished original inch-wide plank wood floors and new windows.
The home has turrets, peaks and terraces, says listing agent Risa Ziegler of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. "It’s very, very unusual," she says, adding that light pours in from the home's more than 60 windows.
The half-acre property, which has a detached four-car garage, is walking distance to the bay and boasts winter water views.