Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Building of the Week: Lyndhurst, Tarrytown, New York

With its impressive three-story turret, graceful ogival arches and soaring Gothic details, this mansion on the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York seems to be simultaneously gloomy and romantic. Now, considered one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival Architecture in the United States, when the mansion was first constructed in 1838 for William Paulding (one-time mayor of New York) by architect Alexander Jackson Davis, it was referred to as “Paulding’s Folly.” Then, known as “Knoll House,” the home began to draw positive attention as American tastes changed toward the more dramatic.

The Dining Room
A.J. Davis doubled the size of the house and added the large tower for the home’s second owners, George Merritt, in 1864. Merritt renamed the house, “Lyndhurst” for the Linden trees that grew on the park-like expanse of property which still remains. The next owners, The Jay Gould family, used the house as a summer home in the 1880’s.

The interior of the house maintains the style of the Gothic Revival façade, focusing on vaults, arches and intimate spaces befitting the time period it emulates. Deep-colored rich woods, stained glass, exceptional plastering, and intricate stonework define the mansion’s interior. Unlike many of the mansions along the Hudson River, Lyndhurst was designed to be romantic more so than overpowering. Curiously, when all of the past owners vacated the house, they left behind their furnishings and art. Today, Lyndhurst proudly showcases this multi-family, multi-generational collection of grand and sumptuous décor.

The Library
One of Jay Gould’s daughters, Anna, Duchess of Talleyrand-Perigord, maintained Lyndhurst until her death in 1961 at which time the house and its sixty-seven acres were given to the National Trust to preserve. This historic site is now open to the public for tours as well as private events.

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