Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oheka Castle, Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, NY

This is Oheka Castle or the Otto Hermann Kahn Estate, hence the name.  O,he,ka.  Simple, right?  You might have heard the name before, one of the Jonas Brothers got married here, but much more on that later.

This is another one of the "Gold Coast" estates and another copied after a French chateau. It remains the second largest private home in the world with 127 rooms and is over 109,000 square feet.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Here's another piece of trivia.  Otto Kahn's likeness is used for the little man in the Monopoly game.

Of course, it didn't start out as a hotel.  Mr. Kahn, a financier and philanthropist, hired famed architects Delano and Aldrich to build a summer home and country estate between 1914 and 1919.  It was built out of steel and concrete making it one of the first fireproof buildings.  Two years were spent building an artificial hill in which to place the home on, so that the family would have magnificent views of Cold Spring Harbor and Cold Spring Hills.  Today, especially in winter, you can spot the many chimneys of Oheka Castle. 

Otto Kahn commissioned the Olmstead Brothers to design the Formal Gardens, which you can see pictures of on the Oheka's official site.  Mr. Kahn also had a private 18 hole golf course built around the estate, one of the largest private greenhouses in America, tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, a landing strip, orchards and stables.

After Mr. Kahn died of a heart attack in 1934, the estate changed hands several times.In 1939, it was used as a retreat for New York sanitation workers, and in 1942 to 1945, it became a government training school for Merchant Marine radio operators. It became the Eastern Military Academy in 1948 until it went bankrupt in 1979.  For 5 years the estate stood empty and was ravaged by vandals until 1984 when developer Gary Milius bought the estate and sought to renovate it to its former glory.

Today, Oheka Castle has 32 guest rooms, a spa, premier restaurant, 18 hole golf course exclusive for members and a fitness center. It can be rented for weddings and celebrations and tours are given by appointment. 

Please check out their great website to learn more about the history of this beautiful estate.

This is the Wikipedia article:

Check out the official site below. It's very informative and gives you plenty of vintage photos, some rare videos of the Kahn family and some great facts. Click on photo and check out Oheka on demand for some great videos.

here is an aerial view on wikimapia

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