Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Winfield Hall" under Construction

 Text and photos lifted from AMERICANA, published 1916.

VIEWS OF MR. WOOLWORTH'S COUNTRY HOME, WINFIELD HALL. GLEN COVE, NEW YORK Destroyed by fire, November 10.1916. and now being replaced by a marble edifice.
VIEWS OF MR. WOOLWORTH'S COUNTRY HOME, WINFIELD HALL. GLEN COVE, NEW YORK Destroyed by fire, November 10.1916. and now being replaced by a marble edifice.
VIEWS OF MR. WOOLWORTH'S COUNTRY HOME, WINFIELD HALL. GLEN COVE, NEW YORK Destroyed by fire, November 10.1916. and now being replaced by a marble edifice.
At Glen Cove, Long Island, is Mr. Woolworth's extensive country estate, where, until its destruction by fire on November 10, 1916, stood "Winfield Hall," his former beautiful summer home. Upon the same site, now under construction and almost completed, rises a new mansion from the plans of C. P. H. Gilbert, built of magnificent marbles and other precious materials and involving an expenditure of a million dollars for the building alone. Immediately upon the destruction of "Winfield Hall," Mr. Woolworth conceived the idea for the plans for the marble palace which is now to succeed it; and his designs for the construction of the new residence were so instantly put in execution that although barely more than six months have elapsed since the burning of the former residence, yet within that period the new mansion has been practically carried to completion, and all this, although the new edifice is of a most costly, rich and elaborate description and construction, with every modern conceivable appointment for beauty, elegance and comfort. When completed, it will stand not only one of the most imposing, but the most costly, of the mansions on Long Island, renowned for its many handsome residences, and will also have established a record for the unprecedented rapidity of its construction, by which the stately palace-like walls of gleaming marble have risen into a beauteous and exquisite harmonious completeness. The successful, rapid and perfect consummation of the whole reflects, characteristically, the quick decisiveness with which Mr. Woolworth directs and controls every and all the matters which receive his attention. The design selected by Mr. Woolworth for the new marble mansion displays his fine judgment and taste as to the appropriate type of building for the site to be employed; the manor at Glen Cove, surrounding the dwelling, is most wonderfully situated in the midst of an ideal landscape, with its grounds abounding in roseclad terraces, rare shrubs, and costly flowers, exquisitely laid out; with delightful vistas on every side, rioting in a wealth of color and of beauty; the whole estate, with its private golf links, its sparkling fountains, its rolling terraces, and all its exquisite appointments, designed not to dazzle or oppress, but to welcome and to cheer, with everything adapted and fitted to the usages of an elegant and thoughtful, and yet apparently almost extemporaneous hospitality; and when enjoying brief hours of relaxation and a well earned rest in town or country, Mr. Woolworth delights in extending the generous hospitality of his home to his friends, the genial and thoughtful host, whose striking, forceful personality charms by the grace of a strong and virile individuality.

In the highest meaning of the term this master of millions and of men is democratic, his dignified and magnetic personality maintaining a true equality and a rare spirit of good comradeship in all his social relations; his dominating individuality untainted by the slightest hint of ostentation. But it is in his home life that the kindly courtesy and gracious consideration of his nature find their full expression; a devotion to his wife and to his family which has known neither interruption nor diminution, a care for them, an attention to their every need, the strength of their affection has indissolubly bound their hearts together in a unity which only death can terminate.
Mr. Woolworth has had constructed, on Fifth Avenue at the corner of Eightieth Street, his private residence in the metropolis. 
 And the home typifies these qualities in its master; in the city residence, the appointments in exquisite harmony and taste, beyond the luxury of the furnishings, radiate the indefinable and ever present glow of a home, not a palatial mansion. Upon the walls hang famous paintings, the products of the world's great masters, the carefully selected collection of their owner; in the library exquisite books within whose handsome bindings the great authors of this and other lands commune with their modern reader; and in the music room an extraordinary and enormous pipe organ which is probably unequaled in any private house within the nation or the world. The fine painting, the good book, the sublime strain of music; these are the exquisite pleasures of Mr. Woolworth's leisure, surrounded by his family and his friends in the midst of home and happiness.
On Eightieth Street, also, he has had erected three handsome residences as city homes for each of his three daughters.♦ Mrs. Hutton's sudden death in 1917 leaves but two daughters surviving of Mr. Woolworth. Mrs. Hutton left a young daughter, her only child.

To read the full article click HERE.

Further insight into the speed of construction was the work of New York City decorators Theo. Hofstatter & Co. 

***From Architectural Record*** "Theo. Hofstatter & Co. are a firm of over forty years standing and it has been their primary aim during their entire business career to construct only the highest grade of furniture, by using the best materials, employing only the most skillful workmen, exercising the most intelligent and careful supervision and paying the closest attention to details. In design, they follow only the best examples, striving for purity of style rather than the transient fads of the hour, and avoiding all that is false, tawdry and unstable. To the construction, down to the smallest detail, the closest attention is given, and it is a matter of pride with them that no flaws can be found in their products and that it is on a par outside and in. The best artists and workmen obtainable are on their staff, a fact which has contributed in no small measure to their success." 

"Winfield Hall" was not furnished with antiques purchased from a Grand Tour through Europe. Quality reproductions  from assembly line methods seemed to have been the norm. I'm also finding references to a regular working relationship between Gilbert and Hofstatter. Similar partnership come to mind - Horace Trumbaur and L. Alavoine for "Whitemarsh Hall" and "Rose Terrace".

Below text excerpted from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography - 1894. Beginning text refers to the elder Hofstatter.

"Upon the conclusion of the war, he resumed in New York the manufacture of furniture, in which he was the first to introduce in this country the "Turkish" upholstered work, now so long popular with the trade. His business had been confined altogether to the trade, and mainly to the southern and California markets. Retiring to Germany in 1871, he left it to his two sons, Adolph G. and Theodore Hofstatter, who assumed charge then, developing it from insignificant proportions to a condition that now(1894)contrasts strongly with its beginning over twenty years ago, and establishing for the firm name, Hofstatter's Sons, a wide reputation. Adolph, whose predilection for art originally led him to devote himself almost exclusively to it, had been an instructor of free-hand drawing for five years in the industrial schools of the Mechanics' and tradesmen's society, then at 472 Broadway, but subsequently he entered for a while the employ of Herter Brothers as a wood-carver. Theodore had conducted the affairs of the concern by himself after the retirement of his father, but upon being joined by his brother Adolph, the firm as it was afterward known, so far as the wholesale department of the business was concerned, became Hofstatter's Sons. The factory had been in the lower part of the city during the early part of its existence, but subsequently it was removed to East Thirteenth street, where for the last twelve years it has remained, and where, so far as it is individually concerned, it has been restricted entirely to the original line of work with which its reputation has been so long associated, namely, the manufacture of furniture at wholesale, and in which both brothers are equally interested.

It was not, however, until 1885 that, under the firm name of Theodore Hofstatter & Co., Theodore, the younger, founded a decorative branch of the house, which he opened on Broadway near Twelfth street, where it has kept abreast ever since with the current of fashionable taste in illustrating, in the styles reproduced, all those characteristics with which the names inseparably connected with the history of the three Louis are essentially a part. Be rain, Lebrun, Wattean, Andre, Charles Boule, have now a historical significance; Callieri, Gouthiere, Reiseuer, Fragonard, Greuze, Boucher, Martin, and the rest, awaken a whole train of associations. It is through their influence, and such as theirs, that Theodore Hofstatter's designs possess the material to produce only those effects that can be truthfully termed, good style. Though excluding cabinet work proper in connection with all contracts, his field is broad enough to furnish examples of decorative work in which his ancient French predecessors gained distinction; for it was to those canapes and fantetuis, upholstered with the famous tapestries of Gobelins or Beanvais, their frames carved with much spirit or with feeling, and richly gilt, that most of their fame is to be credited. His branch of decoration is restricted almost exclusively to fulfilling contracts for the trade, which has, despite the fact of its apparent isolation from the general channel of patronage, developed resources and created designs that are indisputably of the first excellence. Among prominent public buildings in which Theodore Hofstatter has executed contracts have been the City club, the Downtown club, the Arkwright club***membership repsented three-fourths of the cotton spindles of New England***, and nine floors of the Hotel Savoy. He has interested himself in American art, and has begun (1894) to further its advancement by enlisting the interest of his clients. He was president of the Furniture board of trade for about five years; has been president of the Merchants'and manufacturers' club; he is a member of the Veteran association of the 12th regiment, as well as of the Morris club, and of the Morton commandery of the Knights Templar. He has been the inventor of machinery applied to the manufacturing of furniture, many of which inventions have become well known patents."

The firm continued to advertise into the 1930s -
If you Google the firm you can find the company name still being used - voted "best designer in Manhasset".

If anyone can further add to this please post.  

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