Thursday, December 23, 2010

Knollwood Estate, Muttontown, Long Island, NY

These are the remains of a Gold Coast estate that wasn't saved.  Its name is Knollwood, also known as the King Zog ruins, which I will explain later on.  This is what's left of the rear entrance, with a double staircase leading out to the garden.
Knollwood  was built for Wall Street mogul and steel magnate Charles Hudson on a 260 acre property.  Designed by architects, Hiss and Weekes, this 60 room house was constructed between 1916 and 1920.  The estate also contained Westbrook Farms, (not to be confused by the Bayard Cutting estate called Westbrook) a working farm with over one hundred Jersey cows.  The extensive gardens were landscaped by Ferrucio Vitale.  Gazebos, fountains and porticoes dotted the leveled gardens.

The photo on the right shows only one staircase heading into what was once the garden area.  In back of me you can see the rear stairs and the hill that the house once sat upon.  There were three levels of the formal gardens and later I will provide before and after links so you can see what this magnificent estate looked like.  I'm sure it will surprise you as it has surprised me.
In 1951, King Zog  of Albania bought the estate from the Hudson's for approximately $102,800. He intended to use the mansion as his kingdom in exile, but he never moved in. In 1955, Albania's parliament sold the estate and built a large concrete wall around it. This was done to keep out vandals and looters searching for King Zog's vast wealth that was rumored to be buried inside the mansion.

By the time noted philanthropist, Lansdell Christie bought the estate in 1955, the house had been so badly damaged  that Christie had the mansion ripped down for safety purposes in 1959. Today the estate and the grounds are located inside Muttontown Preserve where you can see the terrace wall and double staircase (picture on the right) and most of what is left of the leveled gardens.  Some of the remains are still crumbling, but you can hike around and take pictures.  


The entrance gates to Knollwood

Early shot of the rear of Knollwood.  Notice the double staircase at the base of the house all the way over to the right.

 Here are the links that I promised.

Old Long Island. This site has many links to Knollwood and is worth looking at to see other long lost estates of the Gilded Age.

Here is an aerial view of Knollwood including the pamphlet that was used to sell the estate.

Wikipedia article

Long Island Gold Coast Estates where I got the picture from.

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