Nassau Museum of Art – the Childs Frick Estate
The Nassau Museum of Art is one of the largest suburban art museums in the United States. Located about twenty-five miles east of New York City in Rosalyn Harbor, Long Island, it is housed in the former Frick Estate.
The Frick estate is one of the most spectacular examples of Gold Coast properties you will find on Long Island. The main building, the original home of the Childs Frick family, now bears the name of the art collectors and philanthropists who helped make the museum what it is, today, Arnold and Joan Saltzman.
This stunning, three story Georgian mansion truly exemplifies the architecture of the late 19th century Gold Coast.
Henry Clay Frick, who was a co-founder of U.S. Steel, bought the property formerly owned by the poet and preservationist, William Cullen Bryant, as the future home for his son, Childs Frick. The Fricks hired architect, Sir Charles Carrick Allom to redesign the facade and most of the interior. The Fricks named the home Clayton. Childs and his wife, Frances, lived there for nearly fifty years.
After Childs Frick passed away in 1965, Nassau County bought the property and converted the mansion into a museum, which is now the Nassau Museum of Art. As a private, not-for-profit institution, it is funded by memberships, private and corporate donations, federal and state grants, as well as admission, parking, etc. The Nassau Museum of Art is located in Roslyn Harbor, a village in Nassau County, New York. Situated within the north shore of Long Island, the village of Roslyn Harbor, interestingly enough, lies partially within two other towns, Oyster Bay and North Hempstead.
The Nassau County Museum of Art is well worth visiting on any trip to New York, just for a look at the awe-inspiring architecture of the Childs Frick mansion.
This mansion, which became known as “Clayton,” after the home that Childs Frick grew up in, was originally the Stephen Lloyd Bryce estate. It was designed by Ogden Codman Jr., somewhere around 1901 or perhaps even a little earlier. The family of the poet, William Cullen Bryant, sold all but seven acres of his retreat to Congressman Lloyd Bryce in the 1890s, who commissioned the Georgian Revival mansion to be built high above Hempstead Harbor. Henry Clay Frick then bought it in 1919 as a wedding gift for his son, Childs and his new wife, Francis. They lived at Clayton until Childs’ death in 1965.
The combination of the nearly pink brick and bright which trim and columns of this imposing edifice perched on the height of land make an impressive sight. Set in beautiful gardens, well groomed trails and walking paths, it is, in spite of it dominating design, a very peaceful and relaxing site.
Access to the Nassau Museum of Art is accomplished easily by car. The best way to see a glorious mansion like the Clayton is to arrive by chauffeured limousine, provided by an experienced Long Island limousine service.