Dec 09 2017

The Hunt for the Treasures of Virginia “Birdie” Vanderbilt’s Estate in Brookville

The Long Island estate of Birdie Vanderbilt seen in Mystery Foto #47 continues to amaze. Last Wednesday, a small group of neighbors and explorers were given the opportunity to hunt for Mrs. Vanderbilt's treasures remaining at her former Brookville estate.


Howard Kroplick

After verifying the exact location of Mrs. Vanderbilt's Brookville estate, I realized  the northern section of the gardens was in the backyard of my friends Darrell and Rocey Lesters. They were also excited about the discovery. Responding to my suggestion and with approvals from his neighbors, Darrell arranged a treasure hunt for a small group of viewers searching for remnants of the mansion and gardens. Here is what we found:

Mother Nature has taken over sections of the former gardens.

Our first discovery: A fire hydrant found near the site of the mansion.

Soon after, we found this garden vase.

Art Kleiner and Greg O. uncover more remnants.

A sundial!

Al Velocci, Darrell Lester and Frank Femenias check out a fallen obelisk.

Brian McCarthy recovers a wing.

Brain McCarthy and Al Velocci piecing together the statue.

The eagle that was perched on top of the obelisk.

The obelisk could be seen in the 1930 Mystery Foto.

As seen in this 2012 Google Earth aerial, the obelisk was still standing...until Superstorm Sandy hit later in October. Courtesy of Greg O.

These statues were recovered by the homeowner in the woods in his backyard.

Another neighbor led us to a circular "pond" in his backyard.

Art Kleiner, Darrell Lester, Greg O., Steve Lucas and Rocey Lester soon uncovered a statue pedestal.

Greg O., Dave Russo, Art Kleiner and Brian McCarthy clear the "pond" area.

Th "pond" was the actually a fountain in the middle of the mansion's driveway.

Al Velocci uncovering the driveway and a brick wall near the fountain.

These bricks surrounded the entire fountain and made up the main driveway in front of the mansion..

The bricks were manufactured by S & F Company. Information on the Sayre & Fisher Brick Company courtesy of Art Kleiner.

The driveway as seen in this 1926 aerial.

The driveway and fountain can be seen in this 1950 aerial

A great day was had by all! Thank you Darrell and Rocey and all the Brookvile neighbors!