Mid-Michigan's Bigger Dealer With Better Deals
Hauteur and Hurt From the Gilded Age
Clarence Mackay's father habitually had given his mother orchids. This was an epoch when a regular workman earned a dollar per day. American Beauty Roses also commanded a dollar. But a single exotic, orchid cost five dollars: nearly an entire weekly wage, as much as dinner for two with champagne at the Plaza. Charmingly imitating his father, by showing his wife and the world how he felt with expensive orchids, Clarence well matched by Katherine During their courtship, when he wagered he could give her more orchids than she could wear, he'd lost. Becomingly, after pining bunches to her waist and bodice, she ornamented her hat with the remainder. By the time she married, Katherine the orchid as her personal talisman.With an 80,000 square foot interior, Harbor Hill ended up costing $830,000.00. This figure is exclusive of the remarkable art collection, painstakingly gathered to fill it, like important and historic gem stones, meticulously gathered and matched, to fill an exquisite new platinum setting by Cartier. Contemplating and accessing the lost value of a 1900 dollar however, is rather complicated. To multiply by one hundred is often useful. skilled laborer, working on the construction of Harbor Hill, $2.00 per day, unskilled, $1.00. Were they earning the equivalent of $100 $200.00 per day? No. a dollar have the purchasing power of $100.00 then, at the grocery store? No again. It seems reasonable, to imagine that one could reproduce a house like Harbor Hill today, for $ 83 million. But, the $5.00 or so the finest a la at Sherry's Restaurant cost, that seems preposterous now, at $500.00? Perhaps, a nice wine is included?Why, one might wonder, was this great house ever built? answer to this question has to do with the ambition and self image of the patrons who commissioned and oversaw its painstaking execution. exceptional dwelling, Harbor Hill, is a place some have called, "Heartbreak House". completion, to destruction, it lasted just forty five years!Like others before, and since, they captured the public imagination. and Harry Whitney, Nancy and Charles Gibson, Linda and Cole Porter, Constance and Kirk Askew, Ernesta and Samuel Barlow, Eleanore and Archibald Brown, Amanda and Carter Burden, Katherine and Clarence were their epoch golden couple. Clarence Esquire, (1874 1938), was a gentleman sportsman farmer philanthropist captain of industry connoisseur. surely saw his beautiful wife as a thoroughbred. Her children, his children, would be thoroughbreds too. Katherine Alexander (1880 1930), allied to the city's oldest and most prominent families. As a spirited girl, she'd been a darling of the 'best society.' As his wife, he would crown her, queen of New York. He would give her the world and build a castle befitting of her loveliness cartier gold bangle fake, a palace worthy of the wealth and wisdom that made him invincible. He envisioned Harbor Hill as a dynastic seat, one which, thanks to Stanford White's genius and his careful supervision, would be as stately as any historic pile in far off England, or in France. By distinction, Harbor Hill, in addition to a superb setting and the requisite collection of priceless treasures love bracelet replica, was to be outfitted with every technological marvel, every provision for convenience and comfort, conceivable.It would be passed on to generation after generation. And, in the fullness of time, matured, mellowed, further refined, burnished ever more brightly, to a wonderfully satisfying glow, its fame would shine down through the ages. As Clarence his house, for centuries to come, from Harbor Hill would emanate a portion of the lustrous stature for all the world to admire. Exposed to the elite, to thoroughbreds, aristocrats and blue bloods, all his life, despite great affluence and a fine education, always just missed fully belonging to the 'best society.' For her part, his wife, by birth, was fully a creature of that world. But she'd also been painfully aware of the limitations imposed upon her, for lack of great means, to fully enjoy all her afforded.So if Clarence intended for Harbor Hill to be a show place on a summit, a castle where she would be a queen, while he benignly ruled, Katherine in perfect accord with such a vision.1904: In her bid to join the Roslyn School Board, Katherine 500 local children and their parents at a fete that became an annual event for a time Why then, one wonders, did she not covert, and become a Roman Catholic? At the time of her engagement it was much talked about in the papers. There were suggestions that she was taking instruction, from a Jesuit priest, that her embrace by 'the church,' was imminent. Conversely, well aware that the Episcopal faith, was the religion of English speaking aristocrats everywhere, why had Clarence on rearing their children as Catholics? Certainly, for his father, religion had never been any imperative whatever. But his mother on the other hand, French heritage made the Catholic church more central to her. Having survived crushing poverty, distress and want, in large part through the sustenance and comfort availed of a God focused she'd endeavored to make Catholicism important to her children too. As for the younger Mackay's faith, in the long run, as events would reveal, to them, orthodoxy was more symbolic and affiliation more flexible, than any youthful have indicated. Clarence was the second son of John William one of the four men, famous as the Bonanza Kings, who struck it rich with the discovery of an expansive and remarkably pure vein of silver and gold ore. It was known as the Joining forces with James Gordon Bennett, John his windfall into the Commercial Cable and Postal Telegraph Company, laid cables across the Atlantic, and broke the Western union monopoly, to amass still more millions!This was how his son had become a box holder, patron and chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Philharmonic. A decorated layman of the Roman Catholic Church, every advantage at his command, to make himself into a full length portrait of the prefect gentleman.With a wedding gift of six hundred rolling acres from his father to Katherine, joining various Morgans, and others with names synonymous with 'many millions,' the to build. The idea of their group was to transform the sleepy farming community round about Roslyn, in Nassau County, into a realm of privilege and pleasure for their rarefied class, not so different from parts of Sussex. Their headquarters would be the Piping Rock Club, although many provided sports facilities on their properties, graced with houses and gardens based on villas, Colonial chateaux and manors, exceeding the offerings of any club. Among all their grand houses, it was readily acknowledged that Hill was unsurpassed for luxury. Of all the fine places from this period, the north shore of Long Island's 'Gold Coast,' Harbor Hill was held by many to be the most opulent and beautiful. Sadly, this coterie which built landed estates meant to endure through the ages, enjoyed but the briefest optimistic season before their gilded dream came crashing down around them. If costly clipped bay trees, requiring wintering in a cold green house, widely employed as a status symbol, orange trees like these were only found at the most palatal places Who today is comparable? The young, lovely and impulsive Gloria Vanderbilt comes to mind, so does Stephanie Seymour, Paris Hilton and even Kim She was so very young, so very rich, so resolute, to have what she wanted, how she wanted it, when she wanted it. posted over one hundred, mostly commanding, letters to Stanford White, to make sure, that he knew what she wanted too. Clarence with fewer, more tactful to both of the principal collaborators with whom he created Harbor Hill, White and Katherine, kept things in check. What sort of dwelling would the on a hill be? Katherine was adamant on the subject: "a very severe housebased on Louis XIV and Henri II precedents" It fell Clarence to alternately agree to all sorts of alluring extras, seductively suggested by Stanford White, only to then demur, complaining, once he had grasped just how much the game trophies proposed for the billiard room, or a sunken bath, carved from a single block of marble, would cost. In repeated missives he was at pains to remind White about money being a serious consideration, once even going so far as to remonstrate with White, ' I will tell you right here that I would not think of paying such an absurd price as 100,000 francs for any mantelpiece, unless I had the income of a Rockefeller or a Carnegie!.' course, in a way, he did have such an income! To be sure, in fairness, only after his father death, in 1902, was a stupendous his absolutely. before then, his close relationship with his parents was such, that he had had access to all the as much as if it had already been his. this availability was not at first official, allowed play a kind of game. Nor did it help that he was well aware of Whites insolvency. September 4, 1904: Katherine Mackay leaving Harbor Hill to arrange for the fair she staged there, for the benefit of the Nassau HospitalFew houses Stanford White designed are as straightforward, so seemingly conventional as this, his last house. Some are quick to dismiss Harbor Hill as a result of the derivative nature of its facade from the specific source of What such un analytical critics fail to perceive is how much in adaptation, White has refined, manipulated and otherwise striven to his model. He has admirably transformed something grandiloquent and overblown, not suitable at all, as a setting for the family and social life of early twentieth century inhabitants, into a gracious residence. In away extraneous ornament and elements meant merely to overawe, he left what to evoke famous chateau, minus its burdensome excesses decreed by courtly convention and etiquette. Today of course, someone seeking to do likewise, as adeptly, would be reduced to adapting Harbor Hill water tower, on just ten acres as a country retreat. None the less, what White accomplished, was to transfigure Mansart work in such a way as to made it like New York style towers admired by more functional, taunt and disciplined, than the original. Misleadingly the date "1902", does not refer to the disposition of Harbor Hill, but only to the time it was deemed "complete."The cause of tremendous confusion, this is a revised floor plan, made for the publication of Mead monograph, in 1915. large room in the south west pavilion, with three windows, on both the south and the west, was, from 1902, to about 1905, the library, Harbor Hill French oak paneled principal living room. Transformation of this space into the"stone room", a salon that served exclusively as a space for entertaining, required that the billiard room, be made into a new, more intimate library cartier replica love ring yellow gold. By 1925, thanks to Joseph a nearly French gothic room, the new was redone, a third time and rechristened, the "gothic room". Twenty years earlier, the billiard room had been relocated, in the casino. None of the dramatic mystery, with which Sir erstwhile conventional houses, with the unexpected, is present. Instead, one entered into a broad long gallery, twenty feet high and one hundred feet long, that acted as the entrance hall. .