My favorite Long Island mansion was the amazing Beacon Towers built for William K. Vanderbilt Jr.'s mother Alva Vanderbilt Belmont in Sands Point. As a special holiday treat, here's a classic "Then & Now".
If you have other Beacon Tower images that you wish to share, send the jpegs to Howard@Kroplick.com .
Then: Aerial Views
Looking south, the mansion can be see on the left ,right off the Long Island Sound. Note the Sands Point Lighthouse on the tip of the peninsula.
Looking east, the tower of the gate house matching the design of the mansion was visible on the right.
Looking north-west. Note the design of the mansion helped to protect it from the Sound.
Then: View looking south-east
In 1917, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, widowed from her second husband O.H.P. Belmont for 9 years, commissioned Richard Howland Hunt to design this gothic fantasy castle. Hunt was the eldest son of Richard Morris Hunt who had completed the Biltmore Estate for the Vanderbilt family in 1895.
Then: View looking north-east
This was the view after passing through the gate house . Many believe the mansion was one of the inspirations for Jay Gatsby's West Egg mansion in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby".
Then: View Looking east
In 1927, Alva Belmont sold Beacon Towers to the newspaper tycoon William Hearst. In 1942, Hearst sold the estate. Five years later and only 30 years after it was built, this beautiful mansion was destroyed for a new residence. In 2011, The New York Times reported "the mansion that was said to inspire Gatsby's house was leveled decades ago."
Then: View looking south
However, remnants of the estate still remain including the gate house and a carriage house.
Then: View looking north
For more information on Beacon Towers, check out Zac's excellent OldLongisland.com website .