Winfield Hall – the historic Woolworth Estate in Glen Cove, Long Island
Winfield Hall, the historic mansion of the Woolworth Estate in Glen Cover, Long Island, is one of the most expensive Gold Coast mansions ever built. The pink and beige marble grand staircase, alone, cost more than $2,000,000 when it was built in 1917.
Winfield Hall was designed and build for Frank Winfield Woolworth, after his existing home, also on the estate, suddenly and mysteriously burned. Intriguingly, the plans were already completed for the new mansion by architect, C.P.H. Gilbert in 1916.
Built of white marble, the home was designed along the lines of an Italian renaissance palace. At three stories high and with 56 rooms, it was (and is) an imposing edifice. The Georgian dining room featured 18th century Grinling Gibbons-style carvings, while the music room, the focus for the entire house, featured a built-in Aeolian organ.
Each of the second floor bedrooms in the house was designed along the lines of a period museum, such as Empire, Ming, French Gothic, Marie Antoinette, Louis XIV, etc.
Unfortunately, like its predecessor, this wonderful and iconic mansion suffered a devastating fire in the winter of 2015. A terrible amount of damage was done to the mansion, which had been rebuilt in 2010. The irony is that F.W. Woolworth had the house built entirely of marble to make it fireproof. It was estimated that it would cost tens of millions to repair the mansion, and that it would take more than a year to complete the repairs.
Sadly, there is no current news of progress or what will happen to the historic mansion. Massive damage was done to the woodwork, much of which is difficult, if not impossible to replace, today. Furthermore, at least one priceless oriental rug was destroyed. Whether the mansion will open again is still uncertain.
This is one mansion that should at least be seen from the outside, while it’s still standing. Unfortunately, many of these historic Gold Coast mansions, along with their important histories, have disappeared, making way for new, more profitable developments on this high priced and desirable land.
The best way to see as much as possible of this stunning piece of opulent early twentieth century architecture is to book a trip with a Long Island Limousine service. A chauffeured limo service with a local chauffeur behind the wheel is your best bet to get as close as you can and the best views of Winfield Hall, before it’s too late.
Like the other grand mansion in Glen Cove, known as Glen Cove Mansion, there are claims about hauntings at Winfield House. It is, perhaps, inevitable that such claims would be made about grand old homes from that time of excessive wealth, romance, high living, and international intrigue. It is said that when F.W.’s middle daughter, Edna, committed suicide at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, a crack appeared through her face in a painting of his daughters on the marble family crest, above the main entrance fireplace.
Whether you believe in such things or accept that such coincidences can and do happen, the house has a very interesting and at times, troubling history, including two major fires on the estate, the second in spite of Mr. Woolworth’s expensive attempts at preventing such an occurrence.
Next time you visit New York, be sure to book a black car service on Long Island to take you out to see it. It will be worth the trip.