Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gold Coast Mansions: Sands Point

Hello everyone. I'm here today with my first installment of my Gold Coast Mansion series. This series will be a collection of posts showing off the rich history of the Gold Coast, also known as the North Shore of Long Island. Today I'll be discussing The Sands Point Preserve (home to Castlegould and The Hempstead House) as well as the town of Sands Point in general.

It was easy for me to choose this first mansion and town because it holds a lot of personal memories for me. It is a place that I've been exploring for years and one of my favorite places to just drive around and take in the beauty, architecture and spectacular views. It is also the inspiration for the town of "East Egg" in The Great Gatsby, the book that inspired me to start this series in the first place. It seems like a no brainer that this would be the first stop of my Gold Coast tour.

This post will be a little bit different since you'll see a few parts of the town as well as the preserve since I have such a love for the whole area. I've recruited my friend Alex to join me in this journey and I'm so glad that she wanted to come with me because we had a great time!

All of the historical information that I will share was obtained from the literature I received upon arrival to the preserve. Also, apparently the tours of the estate occur Thursday through Sunday and our availability limits us to Mondays so we were kind of left to fend for ourselves so I was unable to ask questions and apparently missed out on one of the mansions.

Enough of my babbling, let's get started!

The Sands Point Preserve is what remains of a former Gold Coast estate built by Howard Gould, the son of railroad tycoon Jay Gould. In 1904, Gould completed Castlegould. Its architecture was inspired by Kilkenny Castle in Ireland.

This is Castlegould. It is the first building that you see when you enter the main portion of the preserve. It is a massive and striking building, clearly resembling an old castle. It was intended to be the main estate but the Goulds did not like it and build a second estate on the property.

Here is a wider view of Castlegould. Believe it or not, this is the smaller building and would go on to house the stables and become the servants quarters.

This is the back of the Hempstead House, the main residence of Howard Gould. It was completed in 1912 and was considered one of the most lavish and extravagant estates on the Gold Coast. 

*Note - I apologize for not getting a full on front view of the Hempstead House but they seemed to be getting ready for an event that day and there were trucks blocking the front.

This sign appears behind the house and I just thought it was interesting. 

This is the back garden area of the house. It is surrounded by the gorgeous stone wall that you can see bordering the garden in the picture and has a beautiful view of the water. The detail is really stunning in person.

This is the water view from the Hempstead House. It overlooks the Long Island Sound and Hempstead Bay, hence the name. As you can see, we had an absolutely perfect day.

This is the side of the Hempstead House and unfortunately the closest I could get to the front. It is built in a Tudor Manor style has a granite and Indiana limestone exterior. It is 225 feet long, 135 feet wide, has three floors, 40 rooms and an 80 foot tower.

Another side view of the home. Following Howard Gould's divorce, the Estate was purchased by Daniel Guggenheim in 1917. He was the third Guggenheim to own property in Sands Point and he was the one to give the main residence the name The Hempstead House.

Guggenheim gifted 90 acres of the Estate to his son and new daughter in law in 1923, where they built a Normandy style house on the bluffs overlooking the Long Island Sound. They called it "Falaise," which is the French word for cliff. I did not get to see Falaise and I'm not sure if that is part of the tour but I will try my best to get back on a weekend to see if I can get a few pictures of it for you.

The Preserve also boasts many beautiful nature trails that take you through the woods and down to the water front. Due to my severe seasonal allergies I was unable to bear the thought of walking through the woods but I will make that part of my mission for when I return.

After passing hands several times, upon the death of Harry Guggenheim most of the 90 acre estate was deeded to Nassau County for use as a museum site and is now known as the Sands Point Preserve.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I chose Sands Point because I do have a personal connection to it. I don't know if this is a "Long Island thing" but in high school and when I was on break from college my friends and I would get together for the evening to get dinner and coffee. The night would ALWAYS be capped off by a multiple hour drive around Long Island to our favorite locations and Sands Point was a weekly stop for us. We had discovered that following the curve at the end of the road would bring us one of the most beautiful views we could ever imagine. I always felt like I was in on a secret and we would drive there every single time we got together. You'll see why in just a minute.

One of my favorite things about the town of Sands Point is the eclectic architecture of all of the houses. You'll find every style of house you can imagine, one more grand and opulent than the next. The waterfront views are unbeatable and I could spend all of the time in the world driving around and looking at the area. The house pictured above is my absolute favorite in the town. I love its almost gothic and medieval vibe, the view is incredible and those spikes on the surrounding wall are so different and intimidating. It is definitely my dream home and I love passing by and taking a look at it. It also looks really spooky at night which is really fun.

This structure is located directly across the street from the house pictured above. This is located in someone's side yard I believe. It's hard to tell what belongs to whom but I'm pretty sure this the side yard. It is such an interesting structure because if it belongs to the house I'm thinking of it is a completely different style than the architecture of the main house. It looks really cool nonetheless.

I love the feel and vibe of this little area and I'm not going to lie, I've wanted to do a photo shoot over here for ages. It would be a great place for an engagement shoot with the right couple ;)

This is not a great picture but I love the detail of the fence surrounding this little side yard. It reminds me of giant chain mail and I thought it was so unique.

This is another gorgeous house located in Sands Point and sits directly across from the view I was mentioning above. The home is huge and my favorite feature is the double wraparound balcony/patio on the top and bottom levels of the house. If you are in the market for a new home and love the look of this house, you are in luck! It is currently on the market and you only have to fork over $13 MILLION. ;) It is so beautiful, and what makes it even more special and stunning is the view.

(Special note about this photo - Alex took this photo. Poor thing was practically hanging out of the window as I was rolling the car, ha! She got a great shot, thanks for being a trooper in my crazy adventure! In all fairness though I was practically hanging out of the window getting the picture of the house across the street)

This is what you see when you look directly across from that gorgeous mansion. It is hard to tell because it was a little hazy on the horizon that day, but this beautiful house overlooks the water (I believe the Long Island Sound but I'm not 100% sure) and has an amazing view of the city. Imagine coming around a curve in the road at night and being treated to this view of a beautifully lit New York City over the water. I feel so lucky to know about this spot and to be able to go there whenever I want. When it is warm out and I don't want to be at home I'll sometimes just drive down to this spot to get out of the house and enjoy a beautiful day. It is so special to me and I love it so much.

So this is it for my first post in my Gold Coast Series! I apologize for not getting the pictures of the nature trails and of Falaise, but I promise I will try to get back on a day where they are doing tours and when my allergies have calmed down a bit. So I guess there will eventually be a part two of my Sands Point post.

I hope you enjoyed my photo tour of the Sands Point Preserve and the town of Sands Point. I am so excited to have more adventures and show you more of the Gold Coast. Funny enough, I worked my first wedding in a long time yesterday and we happened to go to the Estate that I was planning on going to next! I got to scope it all out and get re-acquainted with it and it is a beautiful and completely different property from the preserve and I look forward to going back soon! I've also been debating filming a driving tour of the town so you can get a really good idea of what I see when I drive this road but I would have to work out the logistics of that. Is it something that you would want to see?

Have a great weekend!


  1. You really are excited about these estates aren't you? I feel like I learned something and you got some postcard quality pics.

    1. I am definitely excited. It's cool to be so close to such an interesting part of history. I'm also just excited to have a soul saving project to keep me busy :) Thank you, I'm glad that you got something out of it!

  2. Very cool about it being the inspiration for Great Gatsby! I love facts like that! Beautiful pics too :)

    1. I think it's so interesting that it is the inspiration! When you visit the town you can definitely see where the inspiration comes from. Thank you so much, I had such a good time taking them!

  3. What great photos. Long Island has a lot of interesting history, and it's so beautiful in places. It's a shame I don't make an effort to get out there more often. I guess I can always just wait for yr next post, haha.

    1. Thank you so much! The history is what I love most about Long Island and there are so many beautiful spots like you said. It's funny, I feel the same way about the city... it's right there but it's so rare that I get in. Although my reason is more so because I get way too overwhelmed by it all :) Next time you head to Huntington you should check out the Vanderbilt Mansion! Or you can wait for me to post about it later on in the series ;)

  4. Gorgeous! You're a really great photographer. I think these mansions all look kind of spooky...but I think I like that! Who wouldn't want a house with some history?

    1. Aww thank you so much, that means a lot! The architecture of these mansions definitely have a spooky feel and I love it too. You'll see the next mansion has a totally different feel to it! It's so beautiful I can't wait to go back and check it out.

  5. I am in awe at the magnificence of this post! A labor of love to be sure! Thank you for spending your free time exploring and sharing these treasures!

    The architecture is impressive, and I agree with your choice on favorite house. The wall around it lets prowlers know it will be painful to cross! I remember from watching the link you posted a while back that many locations were destroyed and cleared for new homes. I'm not remembering if the majority of the remaining properties were bequeathed to the county or if there are still more family estates. So interesting, and so beautiful!

    And oh yeah, I'll just whip out my imaginary checkbook for the last house. ;)

    1. Awww! Thank you so much Ingrid, that is so incredibly sweet to say. It is definitely a labor of love and I guess it kind of shows that I'm capable of actually following through on a project that I really care about. It is all my pleasure, I have a great time exploring these locations!

      I love the architecture in the town because there is such a wide variety of it. I obviously gravitate towards the more spooky, gothic ones but there are so many other styles. As for the Gold Coast Mansions (and there are only a few that are considered true Gold Coast Mansions I believe) most of them are gone. They all have different uses... some are preserves and arboretums and controlled by the county and some are privately owned and run as catering halls/hotels. I'm excited about the next one, it has a totally different feel.

      LOL seriously!! Only $13 million, no big deal ;)