Lyndhurst

Lyndhurst, also known as Jay Gould estate, is a Gothic Revival country house within its own 67-acre (27 ha) park beside the Hudson River, located in Tarrytown, New York approximately one-half mile south of the Tappan Zee Bridge on US 9.

History


The house was designed in 1838 by Alexander Jackson Davis, and has been the home of former New York City mayor William Paulding, Jr., merchant George Merritt, and railroad tycoon Jay Gould, whose daughter Anna Gould, Duchess of Talleyrand-Périgord, donated it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1961. It is now open to the public.

When first built, the house was named "Knoll"; but critics immediately dubbed it "Paulding's Folly" because its extremely unusual design, including fanciful turrets and asymmetrical outline. Its limestone exterior was quarried at Sing Sing (now known as Ossining). The second owner, Merritt, doubled the house's size in 1864–65 and renamed it "Lyndenhurst" for the estate's linden trees. His new north wing added an imposing four-story tower, new porte-cochere (the old one was reworked as a glass walled vestibule) and a new dining room, two bedrooms, and servants quarters. Jay Gould purchased the home in 1880 for use as a country house until his death in 1892. It was Gould who shortened the house's name to today's Lyndhurst.

Lyndhurst's interior is strikingly unusual. Unlike later mansions along the Hudson River, rooms are few and of more modest scale, and strongly Gothic in character. Hallways are narrow, windows small and sharply arched, and ceilings are fantastically peaked, vaulted, and ornamented. The effect is at once gloomy, somber, and highly romantic; the large, double-height art gallery provides a welcome contrast of light and space.

The house sits within a very fine park, designed by Ferdinand Mangold in the English naturalistic style. Mangold was hired by Merritt. He drained the surrounding swamps, created lawns, planted specimen trees, and built the conservatory. His resultant landscape was the first such park along the Hudson River. It provides an outstanding example of 19th-century landscape design, with rolling lawns accented with shrubs and specimen trees, a curving entrance drive that reveals "surprise" views, and a remarkably large steel-framed conservatory (the first in the United States).

This house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

It was the set for the 1970 movie House of Dark Shadows, and the 1971 movie Night of Dark Shadows, both based on the famous gothic soap opera Dark Shadows.

ABC's holiday telefilm The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (aka The Night Dracula Saved the World) was shot here. The scenes were used as the backdrop for both Count Dracula and the Witch's castle. It later aired on the Disney Channel until the late 1990s.

  • North library.

  • Dining room fireplace.

  • A view in the front park

 

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