Sunday, December 5, 2010

Westbrook, Estate at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Great River, LI, NY

The breakfast room
We took a tour of Westbrook, the estate of William Bayard Cutting at 2 this afternoon.  The estate is located on the grounds of the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River and what a lovely place it was.  Decorated for the holidays, there was a tree in every room.  I'm sitting in the breakfast room, one of the brightest rooms in the house.  The glass case I'm sitting on contains some of the china pieces that the family used while they were living here.

Westbrook was designed by architect Charles C. Haight and was completed in 1886.  An annex, built in 1890, contains a billiard room, an organ, a gentleman's smoking lounge and some guest rooms.  According to our wonderful tour guide Anna, it was closed off after Bayard Cutting's death in 1912 by his wife, Olivia Bayard Cutting.  It was opened every once in a while to be aired out and cleaned.  It is still closed off to this day.

The dining room
Each room has a different wooden floor and beautiful Tiffany windows, lamps, trim and mosaics.  We have some pictures of some of the windows and a lamp which I will share with you later.  The fireplace in the dining room is from the 1500's and was shipped over from Europe.  The entrance way, one of the largest rooms in the house, is furnished with 400 year old English oak which was also shipped over from an estate in Europe.                              

Fireplace in the entrance way

  According to the Wikipedia article, Scottish heather was shipped over to be used to thatch the gatehouse.  Also in 1895, Mr. Cutting and his brother designed a golf course which is considered to be the first private golf course in the United States.

William Bayard Cutting was born in 1850 and was brought up by his maternal grandparents after his mother died giving birth to his brother Robert Fulton Cutting.  His father was living in France.  William graduated from college in 1869, received his Master's Degree and was admitted to the bar in 1872.  He married Olivia Peyton Murray five years later and they had four children, two sons and two daughters, the two sons born with tuberculosis. Their oldest daughter, Justine, lived well up until her 90's. The younger daughter cared for her mother, Olivia, until her death in 1949.   
Their son's room, Bronson Bayard Cutting

The Bayard Cuttings were well acquainted with Louis Tiffany and his windows adorn almost every room in this Tudor style country manor home. According to our guide Anna, the dining room Tiffany window is the first to capture the morning light. I will post the windows at the bottom of this blog.
Entrance to Westbrook
In 1936, Mrs. Cutting's daughter, Mrs.Olivia James, deeded approximately two hundred acres to the State of New York as a gift in memory of her father. This was only part of the estate as the property originally consisted well over one thousand acres.  An additional three hundred and eighty two acres was donated in 1938 by Mrs. James and an endowment consisting of one million dollars was made by Mrs.Bayard Cutting for the arboretum.  Mrs. Bayard Cutting would continue to live at the estate until her death in 1949. 

Rear of Westbrook

In 1973, Westbrook was placed on the list of the National Register of Historic Places. Special thanks to our tour guide, Anna, who did so much for us today. We really enjoyed her tour today and she really took command of the large crowd that we had.

Here are the Tiffany windows I promised.  A lamp is included.

Dining room window

Tiffany lamp in Mr. Bayard Cutting's bedroom

Living room window and entrance way windows

As usual, below are some links to several sites on the arboretum:

Wikipedia article on William Bayard Cutting.  Click on the reference links inside article to learn more.

Wikipedia article on Bayard Cutting Arboretum

Below is East Islip's historical  page on the Westbrook estate.  Click on Oral 1, 2 and 3 for a complete history.

This is the official website of the Bayard Cutting Arboretum

Here is Westbrook and the Arboretum on Wikimapia.  It is outlined in red.

One last picture to leave you with.   This is the beautiful rear view of  the Connetquot River that the Bayard Cutting family could enjoy from every room in the house. 


  1. What a gorgeous exciting to be able to visit it in person! Everything about it is so grand and beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing, Clyde!

    1. Yes! That is quite a Mansion if I can say so myself.
      Luv Christmas!~~