Lyndhurst is just
one of those places that are immensely impressive.
From the moment you drive up to the great gates
you know you are entering a place that's going
to dazzle you. You are being let in behind one
of those walls that line the road hiding something
that will astonish mere mortals.
two primary phases of construction and two different
families by Andrew Jackson Davis, one of America's
first architects and a proponent of the Romantic
Style, Lyndhurst is just about the most spectacular
example of Romantic Gothic Revival domestic
architecture ever created. Situated atop a knoll
overlooking the Hudson River at the Tappan Zee
and set in a sweeping park, Lyndhurst is a massive
rambling asymmetrical concoction of carved stone
turrets, spires and windows.
The interior spaces
of Lyndhurst were created on a scale meant to
impress and awe, they are huge, grand and elaborate.
The furnishings are rich in color and texture
and the accessories sparkle and glitter. As
you approach Lyndhurst up the drive you sit
back and stare, as you walk the hallways and
view the rooms you stand in amazement. Lyndhurst
is a complete package, an entity created by
the enormous wealth of the early Gilded Age,
a time in our history when people with money
spent it lavishly.
The history of Lyndhurst
starts in 1838 when Davis created the first
structure in the Gothic Revival Style. In 1864
Lyndhurst, (then named Lyndenhurst), was purchased
by George Merrit, holder of a railroad car spring
patent. He brought Davis back and more than
doubled the size of Lyndhurst by adding the
North Wing and transformed the home into a grand
country residence. Lyndhurst was a creation
of the Romantic Movement, established and epitomized
in the Hudson Valley. Lyndhurst, because of
its proximity to New York City and the prominence
of its owners, became a primary example of the
Then came Jay Gould,
one of the most infamous of the robber barons
of the early 19th century. Gould was a railroad
magnate, Wall Street tycoon and notorious inside
trader making his fortune manipulating stocks.
By the time of Gould's purchase of Lyndhurst
in 1880, the Hudson Valley was falling from
prominence to places like Newport, a perfect
situation for Gould owing from his great social
unpopularity stemming from his financial dealings.
The Gould's influence on Lyndhurst is to be
found in the interiors, a complete redecoration
of the Parlor, replacing the simple wood floors
with parquet and the decoration of bedrooms
and private spaces. The Gould's brought to Lyndhurst
the financial power to bring the impressiveness
of the interiors of Lyndhurst to match, and
possibly overwhelm, the impressiveness of the
exteriors of Lyndhurst.
Lyndhurst is an
experience to be savored just because of its
overwhelming scale and extraordinary interiors.
Except for the most jaded amongst us, Lyndhurst
will "wow" you and bring a touch of
the reality of the difference between the enormously
rich of the 19th century and us. We aren't the
same, the times were completely different and
our sense of correctness and ostentation have
evolved. But it was a time and a place of rare
exuberance and complete abandonment to wealth.
Lyndhurst lets you into that world.