Saturday, March 19, 2011

Great Gatsby Mansion Is Being Torn Down

'Gatsby' place joins doomed mansions list
Lands End, the 25-room Colonial Revival mansion that local lore says was F. Scott Fitzgerald's inspiration for Daisy Buchanan's home in "The Great Gatsby" faces demolition this month.

In the 1920s and '30s, Winston Churchill, the Marx Brothers andEthel Barrymore attended parties there. Fitzgerald was perched on the back deck, drinking in the view. Rooms featured marble, parquet and wide wood-planked floors, Palladian windows and hand-painted wallpaper.

Now, the front door is off its hinges, wood floors have been torn up for salvage, windows are missing and the two-story Doric columns are unsteady.

Sands Point Village in January approved plans to raze the house and divide the site into lots for five custom homes starting at $10 million each.

Lands End is the latest Gold Coast estate to fall. With each demolition, the North Shore loses more of its gilded past, when sea breezes and social events attracted the rich and famous. Historians say hundreds of the mansions have been lost in the past 50 years as owners faced increasing taxes and high maintenance costs.
"The cost to renovate these things is just so overwhelming that people aren't interested in it," said Clifford Fetner, president of Jaco Builders in Hauppauge and Lands End project construction manager. "The value of the property is the land."