No Deconstruction for the Great Gatsby

Photo by John Dunn for NewsDay

The regal, enormous mansion you see above is no more.  It has recently succumb to the gnashing teeth of demolition, torn down to make way for five, smaller homes, decided to be the more economical alternative to renovation.  So, what house is house, before it was neglected to point of necessitating being torn down?  This was Lands End, at the tip of Sands Point on the Long Island Sound, and is widely considered the inspiration for the mansion in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

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.”

To get the true idea of the scale and opulence of this mansion, just watch this incredibly depressing video of it being demolished, 25 fire places and all.

It is understandable that the house did unfortunately have to come down, due to years of neglect, but it is unacceptable that it was demolished and thrown away.  As a historically significant building, the materials should have been preserved and reused, to create a living history of the building.  In fact, with five new houses now being built on the site, there could have easily been reuse in the new construction, referencing the historic nature of the site.  If you were purchasing a new home on the former site of a historic mansion, imagine the story that you could tell by reusing the materials and architectural details.  Honestly, it really is surprising that this level of waste is still legal.

Via CNN, NewsDay

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