Nov 17 2010

Willie K’s Mother’s “Beacon Towers” Castle in Sands Point

One of the most amazing mansions ever built on Long Island was the residence of William K. Vanderbilt, Jr's mother, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont.


In 1917, Alva, widowed from her second husband O.H.P. Belmont for 9 years, commissioned Richard Howland Hunt to design this gothic fantasy castle on the east shore of Sands Point. This is a view of the front facade.


The view of Beacon Towers from the Long Island Sound.


This was the view as you approached the castle by automobile or carriage. Several people believe the castle was the inspiration for Jay Gatsby's West Egg mansion in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby".


The north facade of Beacon Towers. In 1927, Alva Belmont sold Beacon Towers to the newspaper tycoon William Hearst.


In 1942, Hearst sold the Beacon Towers. Five years later and only 30 years after it was built, the castle was destroyed for a new residence.


Today, the garden walls, the garage and part of the gatehouse of the castle are still standing. Here is the the Google Earth location of Beacon Towers.

Links to related and Beacon Towers posts:

Old Beacon Towers page

Google Books: Long Island Country Houses and Their Architects (1860-1940)

Archives: William K. Vanderbilt, Jr.

Summary: The Vanderbilts

Archives: The Vanderbilt Cup Races


Mar 01 2013 Jeff Hauge 8:25 AM

Thanks so much for your work here. I teach Gatsby every year and giving this great novel this context is priceless. What an overwhelming house!

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