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Lyndhurst - TravelStorys

Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Irvington

Location Trip Time Travel Type
New York 3 hours


Named after the linden trees that grow throughout the property, Lyndhurst has been the private home of a New York City mayor, a successful New York businessman and a railroad mogul. With its stunning views of the Hudson River, it's also one of the finest examples of American gothic revival architecture in the whole country. The property was originally built in 1838 for General William Paulding Jr., a former New York City mayor and was officially named "the Knoll". However, some locals weren't fans of the asymmetrical, fanciful architecture and mockingly called it "Paulding's Folly" instead. The architect was Alexander Jackson Davis, who was known as a proponent of the Romantic movement in architectural design. He designed Lyndhurst in two phases. The original, south half of the mansion was designed in 1838 with construction completed in 1842. Mr. Davis also designed the north half, which more than doubled the home's square footage, but that commission didn't come until the second owner was on the scene: one Mr. George Merritt, the New York City businessman who made his fortune with a patent on a spring that was used in railroad cars. It was Merritt who changed the name of the property from the Knoll to Lyndhurst because of the propensity of the linden trees that he had planted throughout the estate. An interesting fact about the exterior of the mansion is that it's constructed of limestone quarried nearby in the village of Sing Sing, (now called Ossining) by prisoners of Sing Sing prison. These quarried stones were originally called "Sing Sing marble". Make sure you check out the greenhouse on the property. It was, at one time, considered the largest and best equipped greenhouse in America. The greenhouse was designed by one of the foremost greenhouse specialists of the time -- Lord & Burnham-- and was renowned for its spectacular collection of orchids. The property's third owner was Jay Gould, who made his fortune in railroads and finance. Mr. Gould purchased Lyndhurst in 1880, and the Gould family owned it until 1961 when Anna Gould left it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. You may recognize the site from many movies and TV shows, including the 1970 movie, House of Dark Shadows and its sequel, Night of Dark Shadows. The Lyndhurst grounds are open to the public from 9 to 5 daily, and tours of the mansion are open for tours seasonally.

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