Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The estate of MARSHALL FIELD, Esq.on Lloyds Neck L. I.

The estate of MARSHALL FIELD, Esq. on Lloyds Neck, L. I. 
Country Life in America

Interior photos can be found HERE.

The residence of Marshall Field, Esq., on Lloyds Neck, N. Y., seen from Long Island Sound.

  AIRPLANE view of the Marshall Field estate, Lloyds Neck, on which the estate is situated, is virtually an island with Long Island Sound, Cold Sprint Harbor, Lloyd Harbor, and Huntington Bar surrounding it. In this south-north view the body of water in the foreground is Lloyd Harbor,with Long Island Sound in the distance. The main entrance to the estate is in the center foreground. To the left center can be seen the greenhouses, kitchen garden, and farm group, and to the right of the group is the estate agent's residence. The winter cottage is hidden by the group of trees almost directly in the center of the picture. Just above these trees is the stable, while the main house, overlooking the Sound, is far off in the distance.

 ABOVE. Looking across the broad sweep of lawn toward the main house, with a freshwater pond between the house and the Sound. To the right of the picture the roof of the tennis house can be seen among the trees. The main house stands on a hill that slopes toward the pond. BELOW. The house seen from the air over the Sound looking across Lloyds Neck to Cold Spring Harbor. To the right of the house lies the formal garden with the rock garden below it. The roof of the tennis house can be seen at the left. The gamekeeper's house and kennels appear in the center background; the farm group is in the left background.

The gate lodge and entrance to the estate. This charming old Colonial farmhouse was erected in 1730, and retains to-day all the charm and flavor of bygone days. It is well in keeping with the dignity and simplicity of the entire estate.
***Backside of the gate lodge, 1975***

 WE BELIEVE that to surpass the beauty and fine design of the Marshall Field house at Lloyds Neck, L. I., you would have to go back more than a hundred years, and even then we do not know that you would find its equal on the American continent. The great houses of the Georgian era in England are at the same time its precedent and its criterion. Neither Monticello, nor the Blufinch houses***???***, nor any of those really splendid late Colonial houses seem to us so thoroughly perfect as this one. The enormous houses built in the early years of this century, at Newport, on Long Island, along the Hudson, were its forerunners but it surpasses them as easily as the public taste of this day surpasses the public taste of the late nineteenth century. We no longer look with awe and respect at "show houses." Our tastes are less ostentatious. The big houses that are built to-day, like the Marshall Field house, are designed to be livable and comfortable; they are not designed to impress.

 The Marshall Field estate comprises upwards of 2,000 acres. Lloyds Neck, on which it is situated, is, practically speaking, an island; it is connected with the main land by a narrow causeway but it is surrounded on all sides by water—on the east by Cold Spring Harbor, on the north by Long Island Sound, on the west by Huntington Bay, and on the south by Lloyd Harbor. The Field estate runs north and south across the Neck from the Sound to Lloyd Harbor. Development of the estate was begun in 1921. There were many acres of trees to be cleared out and most of the brushwood was removed from the remaining timber lands. Also the bluff north of the main house had to be cut down and graded. This proved a colossal job. The first of the buildings, the winter cottage, was completed in 1923. The main house was finished last year, but the interiors are just now receiving their final touches.

 The entrance gates, facing on Lloyd Harbor, are simple wrought iron gates flanked by brick piers. Just within, at the right, is the gate lodge, a little house built about 1730,  which possesses all the charm we associate with Colonial farmhouses. The lean-to side, with the low eaves line, is toward the driveway; the two-story front faces the placid waters of Lloyd Harbor.

 Passing the gate lodge, the drive turns north and mounts a low gradient to the level land on which is situated the stables, the farm group, the paddocks, and the winter cottage. The latter building catches our eye first. As we leave the gate lodge we see it terminating the upward sweep of rolling lawn. It is set about with rhododendrons and oak trees and presents the first of the lovely pictures which are to delight us as we drive through the grounds. The style of the winter cottage is Philadelphia Colonial. It is built of gray stone and crested with a slate roof, and the walls are green with ivy.

 The entrance to the winter cottage is on the north side. We drive into a circular forecourt and are faced by a stone flagged terrace, a little flight of steps bordered by 
an iron railing, and set within the ivy walls is the heavy oak door with its antique eagle knocker.

 The living room is probably the handsomest room in the cottage. It is on the west side and is paneled throughout with Colonial pine paneling taken from the old house which is now the gate lodge. It is unnecessary to describe the sensations of pleasure aroused by the exquisite texture and design of this antique paneling.

 In the winter cottage, as in the main house, every piece of furniture, with rare exceptions, is an antique and every one of them is beautiful. They seem to have been secured not because they were antiques but because they possessed the charm with which the owner wished to  fill his home.

  We leave the winter cottage and turn east, retracing our route until we come to the stables, where the polo ponies and hunters are kept. The stables first met our eyes as we passed the side of the winter cottage on our way up from the gate lodge.

 ABOVE. Set at the head of a long valley, commanding a view of the entrance, the winter cottage is framed in a veritable bower of green, with little gardens and grass walks on every side. Great plantings of rhododendrons make a gorgeous color picture in mid-June. BELOW. The entrance to the winter cottage. This little cottage, used by the owners over week-ends during the winter months, is built of lovely old fieldstone and although more than four years old has acquired already the mellow appearance that comes with age. This photograph was taken before the ivy had covered the walls.

   One approaches the main house along a wide avenue beside a spacious lawn. Feathery elms add greatly to the impressiveness and dignity of the ensemble, and occasional glimpses of pheasants, in gorgeous plumage, stalking about, enhance the charm as well. The main house, like the stable, is one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in America. The bricks were specially treated to give a pinkish buff hue, and they make a most interesting pattern.

  As we came over the top of the grade there lay before us a rich green lawn ending in the pinkish brick structure of the stables. These are said to be the pride of the architect's heart and they are certainly worthy of the highest praise. The style is early Georgian. The two gables facing the drive are topped with the scrollwork pattern common to early Georgian or Jacobean work. Below these gables and niched into the smooth brick wall are two stone fountains, carved from the limestone which is used as trim here and on the main house. The fountains, surmounted with antique leaden urns and surrounded by wisteria vines, are two spots of great architectural interest. Within the gable ends is situated the forecourt of the stables, enclosed by a wrought iron fence, and directly above the entrance door is the clock tower.

 We are taking you on a rapid drive about the grounds and we must ask you to linger over the photographs after we have left you. Suffice it to say that you should be properly thrilled by the line design of the stables because they are just about as good as any architect in the world to-day could do. But the photographs won't give you the color and perhaps we should describe this a little more fully.

 The materials in the stables are the same as those in the main house, which we are coming to next. The bricks were specially treated to give a color effect one sees nowhere else. Some of them were covered with cement, some were burned extra dark, and some were left the ordinary red. After several trials a definite proportion of light, red, and dark was fixed upon, and this proportion was used in the walls of the stables and of the main house. The general effect is pink with a tinge of buff. The buff harmonizes with the light brown limestone trim, and is effective in blending the walls into the landscape of grass and green trees and blue sky.

 Another one of the master strokes of the architectural firm which designed this estate is the treatment of the roofs. These are of heavy slates, a rich gray in color, but they are not like other slate roofs. The sheathing has been built up very slightly here and there to give a wavy line to the roof. In other words, the slates undulate across the broad surfaces. But this is not all. The ridge line, too, has been made irregular to soften its usual sharp silhouette. And finally the slates have been set in random courses and random lengths, increasing in size as they descend to the eaves. The whole effect is admirable. It does not look artificial as do so many of these attempts at irregular --- 

 ABOVE. The west end of the house seen from the rock garden set in the hillside below the house. To the right is the formal garden of shrubs and flowers. A noteworthy architectural feature of the house is the treatment of the chimney stacks. BELOW. The north end of the house, where the balustrade makes a pleasing break in the expanse of greensward. The arched openings give on to a loggia, from which there is a magnificent view across Long Island Sound to the Connecticut shore

The main doorway, surmounted by an antique eagle and with its Ionic pilasters of limestone and its graceful iron railing, is an architectural masterpiece in itself. Something of the texture of the brick can be judged from this photograph

 ABOVE. View from the terrace of the main house across the fresh-water pond to the waters of the Sound. The pond is stocked with game fish and is a favorite rendezvous for ducks on their way to and from the north. Mr. and Mrs. Field raise thousands of pheasants each year that are allowed to roam about the estate at will. BELOW is the view from the loggia.

 ABOVE. Seen from directly in front one can best appreciate the symmetry and the balance of the stable group. The slate roof is particularly noteworthy, as are also the graceful lines of the bell tower that surmounts it. BELOW. In this raking view of the front of the stables one can see to advantage the beauty that has made this building a favorite with the architect.

***Polo Stable, first floor interior, 1976***
***VIEW OF COURTYARD, FROM FOUNTAIN - Caumsett Manor, Polo Stables, Lloyd Neck, Lloyd Harbor, Suffolk County, NY***

A detail of one of the gables of the stable. The stable group, wherein are housed Mr. Field's blooded horses and polo ponies, is certainly one of the most satisfactory and beautiful set of buildings in America, from every point of view. The scroll work pattern on the gable top is typically Early Georgian.
 --- roofs and great credit must reflect both to the men who laid the roofs and the architects who set the style.

 We drive by the west end of the stables northward to the main house. The roadway passes green pastures with heavy timber fences, courses through the green woods in which wild flowers have been sown in great masses of bloom, and here and there decorating the green lawn which edges the road are pheasants resplendent in red and green and gold. The pheasantry, where numberless birds are bred each year, is to the west of the main drive.

 The drive turns to the eastward now and dips down to a lower level. When next we begin to ascend we see before us first a bank of uncut grass, its greenness alive in the rippling wind, then a slate roof topped with chimneys, and at last, when we have climbed the rise, we look across an expanse of lawn, broken, like an English park, with great trees and their dark shadows,  and  beyond the graveled forecourt we see the main house. The entrance facade is simple and classic. The windows, trimmed with limestone, are surmounted by limestone pediments and architraves. The cornice is of the same stone, cut with shapely modillions. The doorway is tall, handsome, formal. On either side of the entrance steps are antique leaden well-heads filled with flowers. One of these bears the date 1770.

ABOVE. The cattle barns are a miniature world in themselves. Here are housed some of the prize cattle for which the Field estate is famous. Every up to date device for the care and comfort of the cattle is included in the equipment BELOW. The farm group, in addition to housing the horses, cattle, and farm equipment, contains a silo, the manager's office, the fire fighting apparatus, and a hay barn, the massive proportions of which are truly astounding.

***Caumsett Manor, Guernsey Farm, Lloyd Neck, Lloyd Harbor, Suffolk County, NY***

 The view to the southward from the main house is magnificent. The gravel forecourt runs to the edge of the lawn, and the lawn rolls away over the little hill to the trees beyond. There is no sign of other human life. There is nothing but a world of green overcovered by the blue sky. 

 We should like to turn now and enter this beautiful house, showing you the exquisite antiques and the fine architectural treatment of the interiors—but for the nonce we must be a modest Bluebeard. The fact is there is so much to tell and show about the Marshall Field estate that we have had to divide the material into two sections. This month we outline the exteriors; next month***next post*** we shall give you the interiors.

  And so, reluctantly, we resume our drive about the grounds. If we continue in an easterly direction we past the servants' wing of the house and just beyond, on the north side of the drive, we come upon the garage. This has been cleverly built on two levels to increase its capacity. The upper floor, facing the service court of the main house, has three arched doorways. The lower floor, facing in the opposite direction, toward the chauffeurs' house, can accommodate a greater number of cars. About twenty motors can be kept in this garage. There is also additional space for cars in the farm group.

 Just beyond the garage we come to the magnificent indoor tennis court building.

 ABOVE. The indoor tennis court is said to be one of the finest in the country. Great windows set around the wall give ample light, and for playing at night a battery of flood lights set in the ceiling makes the court as bright as day. BELOW. The tennis house with the roof of the indoor court showing above. The tennis house contains, besides the court, a charming card room and dressing rooms.

 This is on the right side of the drive, hidden by oaks and rhododendrons. We leave the main drive for a moment and turn into the circle in front of the tennis house. The entrance loggia is of modified Palladian design. Within this structure are dressing rooms and a card room and the indoor court. The latter is astonishingly good. It is a clay court, as hard as concrete but of course more resilient. The lower walls are covered with ivy. The court is illuminated by great skylights and a battery of flood lights set in the ceiling. Thus it is possible to play on inclement days and at night.

 Continuing along the drive we turn now to the southward, and here we might mention the "shooting rides" which have been cut here and there through the virgin forest. These are really long vistas through the woods. Over hill and down dale they go, and dotted along their course are hedges of brush which serve as jumps for the horses. In the shooting season a number of beaters drive the birds out into the open shooting rides, and into the range of the sportsmen's guns.

***Not used in original article - attributed to Country Life in America***

  After a long circuitous trip on the east drive we re-approach the open pastures bordering the stables. Passing by these we leave the winter cottage on our left hand and a little farther to the west we come upon the farm group. This magnificent collection of buildings, with white clapboard walls and gambrel roofs, houses the cattle which are the pride of Caumsett Farm, as the Marshall Field farm is named. (The Caumsett Indians lived on Lloyds Neck and many of their relics were found by workmen on the Field estate.) The Guernsey herd of cattle numbers about seventy-five and includes many of the most noted animals of this breed in the country.

 Directly across the road from the farm group, to the south, is the large kitchen garden, four hundred feet square, hidden behind high brick walls, and just south of this garden are the greenhouses. 

 ABOVE. The entrance to the kitchen garden. Here behind the high brick wall that shelters them from the cold winds are grown a vast profusion of flowers for cutting and vegetables that supply not only the owner's needs but those of the staff as well. BELOW. Looking across the kitchen garden toward the farm group in the direction opposite to that shown above. In this gardenand in the adjoining greenhouses—all manner of lovely flowers are in bloom  throughout the entire year.

  As we follow the service drive southward we pass the group of cottages for the farmhands, and descending the slope to the level of the public highway we come upon the power house and the engineer's cottage. The latter is like a gate lodge to the service entrance and it is as fine a Colonial type as the Revolutionary-cottage used for the main gate lodge. The doorway is a reproduction of one found on the old Miller house near Port Jefferson. The power house, just across the service drive, is a Colonial reproduction. It houses a marvelous power plant, furnishing enough electricity and water in supply a good sized village. In this connection we might say that the workmen on the estate have been drilled into a company of efficient firelighters.

***Pump/Power House, View from Southeast, 1976***
Click HERE to see inside the power house.
 Let us revisit, for a moment, the main house. If we walk from the forecourt around the west end of the house we pass through a mass of rhododendron bushes and come out upon a level terrace of grass, bordered by flowers and low shrubs. This stretches away some distance to the westward. From the end of this is a stunning view out over a deep, grass-filled ravine and far beyond to the waters and the farther shore of Cold Spring Harbor.

 Returning to the house and passing around to the north side we come out on the north terrace. The green lawn of this terrace terminates, at a little distance from the house, in a brick and stonebaltistladed wall. The view from here is of  course the most magnificent on the estate. We look down across a long slope to a little fresh-water pond. Just beyond this is the shore of the Sound where the white waves tumble up the sand. There is another vista cut to the eastward.

 If we walk, now, through the rock garden, at the northwest comer of the house, and down the long grassy path to the beach we come first to the tennis courts, and just beyond, sheltered by the oak trees, is the bathing cottage, a little Cape Cod type of house built of old timbers.  The shingled walls have a weather beaten look and it is difficult to believe that this cottage is not actually as old as the old gate lodge. Within are dressing rooms and a lounge with a big fireplace.

 ABOVE. Down on the shore of the Sound in a shady grove stands the bathing cottage. A central lounge with a large fireplace is flanked on either side by dressing rooms. 

 BELOW. The bathing beach with the bathing cottage at the right. Behind the bathing cottage are the outdoor tennis courts, permitting a quick dip in the Sound after a game.

 We are about to leave you, but first we must mention the dock for the boats and the servants' beach and bathhouse. Everything—and everyone—you see, is provided for.

  Now let us walk eastward from the bathing cottage along the fine white beach. If we turn inland slightly, we come to a little rise in the ground. At our feet lies the fresh-water pond, which is stocked with trout. In a tangle of bushes is hidden a blind, used in shooting the ducks that gather on the pond.

 But if we lift our eyes and look across the surface up the long cascade of green grass that rolls down from the summit of the hill, we see resting on the top the massive brick house, dark against the sky, its many chimneys and great stone pilasters giving it an architectural interest and a romantic beauty that will not be denied. It is, finally, a wonderful view of a wonderful house.

The indoor tennis court, showing the big skylights in the ceiling, as well as the flood lights, and the spectators terrace.

The greenhouse group, like the other groups on the estate, is complete in every detail. Here are grown the flowers that fill Mr. and Mrs. Field's New York house in winter.
Click HERE to see the walled garden and the greenhouses as they look today.

Plot plan showing the layout of the 2000-acre Field estate.

The engineer's cottage, like many of the smaller buildings, is of the simple Colonial farmhouse type. The power house, which furnishes the electricity and pumps the water for the entire estate, is of a similar type.

A group of cottages for the farm help in the same style as the other subordinate buildings on the estate. All the employees' cottages are Colonial clapboarded homes.

The upper level of the garage, which is built on two levels, will accommodate about twenty cars. Behind the garage is a detached house with quarters for visiting chauffeurs.

Click HERE to see "Caumsett" and the various outbuildings mentioned in this article at wikimapia.

 Increasing taxes, maintenance costs, and staffing problems during WWII prompted a reduction to the house from its original monumental proportions in 1950. The west wing containing the living room and master bedrooms and the east wing which contained servants' quarters were demolished. The original dining room was converted to a kitchen. Subsidiary first floor rooms have been converted to living room, dining room and library—all much smaller than the rooms which originally served these purposes. The second floor has nine remaining bedrooms, plus servants'  bedrooms.  The third floor has a variety of storage and service rooms. These changes, designed by O'Connor & Delaney architects were designed to complement and blend with the building's original design. 

SOUTHEAST ELEVATION AFTER REMODEL - Caumsett Manor, Lloyd Neck, Lloyd Harbor, Suffolk County, NY

NORTHWEST ELEVATION AFTER REMODEL - Caumsett Manor, Lloyd Neck, Lloyd Harbor, Suffolk County, NY

West wing of the Mansion before the Field family removed it.

During World War II, Marshall Field leased the main house to the U.S. Office of War Information as a training facility. After the property was acquired by New York State, the building was largely vacant until around 1980 when Queen's College established an environmental studies program in the house. This program continued until about 2002.  

 The best source for additional information can be found HERE. Click HERE to read the Nomination Form for inclusion into the National Register of Historic Places. HERE to read the Existing Building Inventory list complied by the Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve.

The Matinecock Indians (Algonquin tribe) first occupied the land and gave the area the name "Caumsit"  meaning "place of the sharpening stones".

What might have been...

 Field's grandfather, the first Marshall Field, was a farm boy who went to Chicago to seek his fortune before the Civil War. As John D. Rockefeller eliminated rival oilmen, Field did the same to small store-keepers in Chicago, making Marshall Field & Co. Chicago's preeminent department store, and amassing a fortune.

 Senior's twenty-thousand-word will was ironclad and uncompromising; its premise was to keep his fortune intact, and it eventually withstood nine legal challenges. His $118 million fortune(c. 1906 about 3billion today)  was left to his two male grandsons, but the bulk of it was tied up until they turned fifty. Marshall III's mother promptly left America for England, remarrying two years later. She and her husband. Maldwin Drummond, a London banking heir and friend of Marshall junior's, provided the children with an idyllic life at his ancestral home in southern England. While he was in the service, his brother died, and he became sole heir to the Field fortune, though he only had access to half the interest until age forty-five. He received 93 million in 1938 - another billion and a half.

  Influenced by his early life in England Field's "Caumsett" became a replica of the Drummond estate lifestyle. Numerous architectural hints can be seen at the estate that overlooks the Isle of Wight.  Click HERE to see "Cadland House" at wikimapia.

 From the New York Times 1921 - "Thomas M. Hodgens of Montana originally purchased this tract a few years ago and subsequently formed the company which had intentions of developing the land on the lines of the Piping Rock Club."

 All the posts relating to "Caumsett" at can be found HERE.


  1. We used to play on this big lawn as teenagers in the 1970's!

  2. That was a fantastic journey. Thank you!

  3. Now available - The history of Caumsett in print!!

    Goto and enter "Caumsett" in the search window, or goto the "Book Revue" bookstore in Huntington to get your copy!

    Thank you, The Caumsett Foundation