Long Island Mansions Guide

My unofficial guide to fine country house living.

Hempstead House

Location: Sands Point 

Built: 1909-1911

Built for: Howard Gould

Architect: Hunt & Hunt

Rooms: 40

Acres: 300

Guided Tours: No 

Hempstead House was built for Howard Gould in Sands Point in 1911. He then sold it to Daniel Guggenheim. Now part of the Sands Point Preserve, Hempstead House is a massive stone structure. I'm glad to see that it is now slated for preservation. It is now an empty structure, but feel free to peak in the windows. Just beware of falling rocks. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the inside a few years ago. The staircase in the entry tower, and fireplaces are amazing. They had the house open for Christmas festivities in December 2011 with music, snacks and storytelling in the library. It was a great opportunity to really get a feel for the enormity of this place. The billiard room and library were among my favorite spaces with their carved woodwork and decorative plaster ceilings. Here's hoping they continue this tradition and add some more. This was one of the few Long Island houses with a palm court so definitely sneak a peak when you are there. Also check out all the details on the massive porte cochere. There are many carved faces around the house. Every one is unique.

Across the great lawn from the front of the house, stands the stable and carraige house known as Castle Gould with an impressive clock tower. It is based on an old Irish castle and now houses a dinosaur exhibit among other things. There are also miles of walking trails through the woods. Some lead down to the Sound. On some of the trails you can see some of the landscape remains. You go past a little pond that is now green and deep into the woods there is a stone bridge like something out of Medieval times. The lawn on the Sound side of the house used to contain a three part symmetrical formal garden which is being brought back. Everything here was done on a grand scale. I'm glad to see that the overgrown trees have been cut down to open up the view once again to the Sound.

Speaking of Medieval times...the preserve hosts a Renaissance Fair every fall. They have vendors and several events with people in their period attire including full body armor. The jousting and castle storming are the most popular with Hempstead House and the medieval castle-like stables providing the perfect backdrop.






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Location: Sands Point 

Built: 1923

Built for: Harry F. Guggenheim

Architect: Frederick J. Sterner


Acres: 90

Guided Tours: Yes 

Falaise was built  in 1923 by Harry Guggenheim the son of Daniel who lived in Hempstead House. Daniel gave Harry a mere 90 acres on his Sands Point property to build his own country house. Harry built a modest French chateaux on a sharp cliff overlooking the Sound.

Falaise is also part of the Sands Point Preserve. Formal house tours are given and you are shuttled through the woods to the main courtyard. The house itself is rather tiny compared to the grandeur of Hempstead House. It incorporates many antiques and historic features right into it's structure. The front entrance was built around an antique door. The rooms are a comfortable size and the living room features a great wrap around staircase and balcony. Another highlight of the tour is the outdoor terrace overlooking The Sound. The other great feature is the pool with it's fountains and brick arches as the backdrop. The house feels more private than most and definitely was built more for living than as a showpiece or entertainment pavilion. 


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