(Above, the Lands End estate. NYTCREDIT: Joshua Bright for The New York Times)
“There was croquet on the 13 acres of lawn, illumined by car headlights and parties at all hours for what Swope’s wife, Margaret, described as “an absolutely seething bordello of interesting people.” They included Bernard Baruch, George Gershwin, Robert Moses, the Marx Brothers, Irving Berlin, Vanderbilts, Whitneys and Harrimans. It’s the world F. Scott Fitzgerald captured in “The Great Gatsby,”which still seems fresh and urgent almost — remarkably — a century later.
Lands End is set to be demolished. While the party described above took place in “East Egg” (Kings Point), the house stands (for the moment) in “West Egg” (Sands Point, if I understand this all correctly.) Gatsby, like Fitzgerald, stood looking across the water for something that had eluded him. The developers see the value in the land. Something has eluded them, too.
10 thoughts on “Beating Against the Current: Lands End, Gatsby’s Mansion, Is Set To Be Demolished”
It’s an epidemic…..various parts of New York, Newport, Palm Beach (and Gulfstream, Delray Beach, etc). Beautiful historic places being torn down for the most awful new construction. Thanks for sharing this….
Your blog is great….and wonderful to see another Richmonder writing about these things!
Welcome and thanks Ms. Forman. “The only thing constant is change.”
Some say it was the inspiration for Daisy’s house (rather than Gatsby’s). But yes, sad to see it unappreciated and let it fall to benign neglect.
This is so unfortunate. Let me guess what is coming–“high end, up-scale” condos; “luxury living;” or something that qualifies as more “green?” All of those adjectives, when applied to one’s home and way of life, make my skin crawl.
Sadly, what is eluding Americans everywhere is the value of and importance of history and continuity of place. Even tiny, humble cottages (like those that once sprinkled all of the north shore suburbs of Chicago, replaced with towering “luxury” condos or chain stores) are fantastic, nurture us, and give our communities character. Just as individuals make or break the quality of a country’s citizenry, the homes, the architecture, the landscape, the old statues (let’s tear them down, too, while we’re at it!) . . . these are the components of a richer life and quality communities. Crosses, statues, religious artifacts are removed from glorious old chapels on campuses across America because they are now deemed offensive. Once rich with meaning, these are now merely barren structures used to hold lectures or as a new venue for entertainment for the kiddies. Prince Charles is frequently accused of being out of touch, but his books and lectures on the disappearance of England’s landscape and architectural heritage are wonderful and spot-on!
This ol’ lady looks as if no one has cared for her for a very long time. It is tragic that such an iconic house will be lost.
Paula, McMansions at about $10M/per…
Mary, between taxes and upkeep, I can’t imagine what it would cost to run a house like that. More’s the pity that someone else didn’t have the fortitude and wherewithal to keep her going.
It strikes me as rather bizarre that there are no historical easements or other preservation protections in place that could prevent this tragedy from occurring.
Having grown up in Manhasset, part of Fitzgerald’s fictitous East Egg, I view this with great personal sadness. The great homes of the Gold Coast are now so few in number and with such diminished land holdings that Gatsby’s realm seems lost in more than the realm of time.
Elegants is lost on most Americans. Places like Lands End are not worth a second look to most Americans.I am fortunate that my parents, placed in me the values of the past, to guide me. The history of this country is important and to see the crime of tearing down this most wonderful structure ,has left me numb.