Saturday, November 20, 2010
Out of the frying pan
Unable to hold on to Paxhurst (see 5 posts below), we sold it under duress and rented something even grander. Lindley Hall was originally called Crow's Nest. It sits on a promontory at the south end of Tuxedo Lake and, but for the growth of the forest below, would have a stunning view all the way up Tuxedo Lake. The architect was Whitney Warren, the Beaux Arts trained "cousin" of the Vanderbilts (it was a tenuous cousin-ship), whose most famous project was probably Grand Central Station. The client was Henry Munroe, a prototypical society banker of the sort ideally suited to Tuxedo Park ca. 1900. The house was given to a Catholic College in the 1940s, and sometime around 1960 it was afflicted with a perfectly horrible classroom addition which, happily, extends off the rear of the building and isn't overly obvious. The cost of demolishing it has intimidated subsequent owners ever since the house reverted to single family use. It was still there, the last I knew, like a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend," to quote Prince Charles on the proposed modern addition to the British National Gallery. Two years after moving here we were so snarled up in a ruinous lawsuit in New York, that we were forced to decamp to Millbrook. My favorite statistic on this house was that it had 17 fireplaces. The experience of living in it was worth every worried moment.