"I dream't I dwelt in marble halls"
Devoted to the histories and current state of the great mansions of America's Gilded Age.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Mansion of Jay Gatsby

Alva Vanderbilt Belmont's Castle at Sands Point, Long Island, New York. This house is often thought to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's inspiration for the mansion of Jay Gatsby. Photo: Library of Congress
The Great Gatsby Mansion at Sands Point, Long Island, New York. 
The house that is often thought of to be the model for the mansion of Jay Gatsby was a house built by Alva Vanderbilt Belmont. Alva was a real build-aholic, first commissioning the famous chateau on Fifth Avenue, then the still exisitng palace in Newport called Marble House. She also lived at Belcourt Castle in Newport, and had numerous other houses in New York City, Long Island and France. She was the first woman ever elected to become a member of the American Institute of Architects, some say because she commissioned so many houses in her lifetime. In 1917 she had the architectural firm Hunt and Hunt design for her a castle over looking the Long Island Sound. She is said to have commented upon seeing a real Scottish castle that her house on Long Island was more authentic. In the late 1920s William Randolph Hearst, later builder of California's, "Hearst Castle" , bought Beacon Towers and renovated it making it larger and more opulent. He lived there very little, with the house mostly used by his wife, Millicent. The house was demolished in the early 1940s.

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