Old Westbury Gardens in Old Westbury, NY is a historic house and garden museum that serves as a testament to the Gilded Age. The property spans over 200 acres of land in Long Island, making it one of the largest public gardens in the United States. It has been recognized by various organizations for its beauty and preservation efforts, including being named a National Historic Landmark.
The estate was built between 1903-1906 by John S. Phipps, a well-known attorney and businessman, and his wife Margarita Grace Phipps. Designed by English architect George A. Crawley, the mansion combines elements of both Georgian and Victorian architecture with French-style interiors, featuring ornate chandeliers and luxurious fabrics.
The surrounding gardens were designed by landscape architect William Rutherford Mead, who created an array of themed outdoor spaces such as rose gardens, walled gardens, woodland walks, and fountains. Together with the architectural features of the mansion itself, these picturesque gardens create an enchanting setting that transports visitors back in time to the opulence of America’s Gilded Age.
The History Of Old Westbury Gardens
Ironically, what is now considered a picturesque attraction in Long Island’s North Shore was once a mere symbol of the Gilded Age extravagance. Old Westbury Gardens, located in Old Westbury NY, has been witness to many significant historical events that shaped America’s rich history.
The estate dates back to 1906 when John Shaffer Phipps inherited the land from his father Henry Phipps Jr., one of Andrew Carnegie’s business partners. The Historical significance of the gardens can be traced back to its inception during an era where American society was experiencing unprecedented economic growth and political upheaval. Moreover, it represents an example of how wealthy businessmen used their wealth as a means of personal expression through building grand estates like Old Westbury Gardens. It served not only as a home for the wealthy family but also as a status symbol showing off their social standing.
Restoration efforts began in 1959 by Margarita S. Phipps, John S. Phipp’s widow, who believed that preserving the garden would honor her late husband’s legacy while simultaneously providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about American culture and heritage. This belief resulted in extensive renovation work on both inside and outside spaces starting from the early 1960s till today.
Despite numerous alterations over time due to various natural disasters such as hurricanes or storms, restoration workers have successfully maintained much of the original design elements that still attract visitors year-round. This great effort towards preservation allows us insight into ‘the life of john s.phipps’ and his love for nature and appreciation for architecture, which we will explore further in this article.
The Life Of John S. Phipps
The history of Old Westbury Gardens is deeply rooted in the Phipps family. John S. Phipps, who inherited the estate from his father Henry Phipps Jr., played a significant role in shaping its current state. Born in 1874, John was one of six children and grew up surrounded by wealth and privilege. He attended Harvard University before returning to work with his father in their steel manufacturing business.
John’s philanthropy extended beyond his involvement with Old Westbury Gardens. He supported numerous causes throughout his life, including education and medical research. In 1919, he founded the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University with other prominent figures such as Albert Einstein and Abraham Flexner. This institution has since become a world-renowned center for scientific inquiry.
The legacy of John S. Phipps lives on through Old Westbury Gardens and his family’s continued involvement with it. An important part of this legacy is also the impact that he had on society through his philanthropic efforts. His contributions to education and medical research have made lasting impressions on these fields, and continue to inspire others to make meaningful changes in their communities today.
The influence of John S. Phipps extended far beyond Old Westbury Gardens. His philanthropy contributed significantly to advancements in education and medicine. The legacy of both John S. Phipps and his family continues to shape society today.
As we reflect upon the life of John S. Phipps, it is impossible not to consider the impact that his wife Margarita Grace Phipps had on Old Westbury Gardens as well as their shared philanthropic endeavors.
Margarita was born into another affluent New York family, but her accomplishments were entirely her own making: she trained horses professionally and became an accomplished horticulturist later in life. Her passion for gardening led her to transform many areas within the gardens themselves; visitors can still admire her handiwork in the walled garden, which showcases a variety of flora and fauna.
Margarita was also deeply committed to philanthropy throughout her life, supporting many causes such as animal welfare and the arts. Together with John S. Phipps, Margarita Grace Phipps shaped Old Westbury Gardens into one of the most beautiful estates in New York State. Her legacy is just as important to its history as that of her husband’s, and we will explore it further in the next section.
Margarita Grace Phipps: Life And Legacy
One of the notable personalities in Old Westbury Gardens’ history is Margarita Grace Phipps, who was born into a wealthy family in 1911. She became known for her philanthropy work, specifically supporting medical research and education. Her father’s fortune allowed her to pursue her passion for helping others.
Apart from her charitable activities, Margarita was also an advocate for women’s rights. During World War II, she worked as a nurse’s aide and later founded The Women’s Division of the United Hospital Fund (UHF). Through this organization, she advocated for improvements in healthcare services available to women and children.
Margarita continued to support various causes throughout her life until she passed away in 1987. Today, visitors can view some of the artifacts that belonged to her when they visit Old Westbury Gardens. They serve as a testament to a woman who dedicated much of her time towards improving the lives of those around her.
Moving on from Margarita Grace Phipps’ legacy leads us to George A. Crawley, an architectural visionary whose design philosophy made him famous across America.
George A. Crawley: Architectural Visionary
Margarita Grace Phipps’ contributions to Old Westbury Gardens are immeasurable, but as the estate’s popularity grew, it became clear that a larger mansion was needed.
Enter George A. Crawley, an architectural visionary who transformed the gardens into one of Long Island’s most impressive estates.
Crawley brought his wealth of knowledge and expertise to Old Westbury Gardens in 1903 when he was hired by John Shaffer Phipps to design a new mansion on the property. His work was nothing short of extraordinary – he incorporated innovative features like central air conditioning and heating systems, which were cutting-edge at the time.
Crawley’s legacy lives on through Old Westbury Gardens and its stunning architecture.
The mansion is widely regarded as a masterpiece of American Beaux-Arts style with elements inspired by French châteaux and Italian Renaissance villas. Visitors can explore the elegant ballroom decorated with ornate plasterwork, or marvel at the intricate wood carvings throughout the house.
It’s no surprise that this architectural gem has been featured in numerous films and television shows over the years.
The Design Of The Mansion
The Mansion, located in Old Westbury Gardens, is a stunning example of mansion architecture. The exterior is designed with neo-Georgian elements and features an impressive façade that draws visitors in. The symmetrical design creates a sense of balance while the large windows welcome natural light into the interior.
Inside the Mansion, guests are transported to another era with its elegant French-style interiors. Every detail has been carefully considered to create a cohesive and luxurious atmosphere. From the ornate moldings and ceiling medallions to the exquisite chandeliers and marble fireplaces, no expense was spared in creating this masterpiece of interior design.
To fully appreciate the beauty of the Mansion’s interior design elements, here are four must-see highlights:
- The Grand Staircase – featuring wrought iron railings and decorative carvings
- The Library – boasting floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, antique furniture pieces, and intricate wood paneling
- The Drawing Room – adorned with crystal chandeliers, silk draperies, and gold leaf accents
- The Dining Room – complete with a hand-painted mural on the ceiling depicting scenes from Greek mythology
Exploring the French-style interiors of the Mansion is like taking a step back in time to experience opulence at its finest. Each room tells a story through its unique décor and furnishings, giving visitors insight into what life may have been like for wealthy families during this period.
Exploring The French-Style Interiors
Moving on from the design of the mansion, visitors can explore the French-inspired interiors that exude elegance and luxury. The rooms showcase a mix of traditional and modern elements to create a unique ambiance that transports guests back in time. The decor features ornate moldings, chandeliers, polished wood floors, and elegant furnishings.
One notable space is the Drawing Room which boasts an eye-catching ceiling painted by American artist James Wall Finn. This room also has antique furniture upholstered with plush fabrics such as silk velvet creating a comfortable yet sophisticated atmosphere. Visitors may also marvel at the library’s collection of books spanning various genres including art history and literature.
The Old Westbury Gardens’ French-style interiors are truly remarkable for their attention to detail when it comes to design choices. From intricate patterns on curtains to carved wooden panels adorning walls, every inch speaks volumes about the grandeur of this place. It’s no wonder why many people visit this estate not only for leisure but also for inspiration in interior design.
| Table | | — | — | | 1 | Luxurious Fabrics | | 2 | Intricate Patterns | | 3 | Carved Wooden Panels | | 4 | Ornate Moldings | | 5 | Polished Wood Floors |
As visitors move through each room, they will find themselves transported to another era where grandiosity was celebrated through elaborate designs and luxurious elements. Next up is William Rutherford Mead: Master Landscape Architect who played an integral role in shaping the gardens surrounding this magnificent estate.
William Rutherford Mead: Master Landscape Architect
William Rutherford Mead was a masterful landscape architect who left an indelible mark on the field of landscaping. His influential works have been studied and admired by many in the industry, proving that his impact on landscape architecture continues to be felt today.
One of Mead’s most notable contributions to the field is his focus on creating harmonious relationships between manmade structures and their natural surroundings. He believed that buildings should not only exist within their environment but also enhance it. This philosophy can be seen in many of his projects, where he seamlessly integrated gardens and landscapes into architectural designs, making them feel like they were always meant to coexist.
Mead’s work has served as inspiration for countless other landscapers and architects over the years, demonstrating just how innovative and forward-thinking his ideas truly were.
As we explore the themed gardens at Old Westbury Gardens, we will undoubtedly see examples of Mead’s influence that continue to shape our understanding of what it means to create beautiful spaces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
The Themed Gardens At Old Westbury
William Rutherford Mead’s influence on the landscape of Old Westbury Gardens is undeniable, but it was not until after his death that the gardens truly began to take shape.
Today, visitors can explore themed gardens that showcase a variety of plants and design styles from around the world. Themed Garden Tours are a popular way for visitors to experience the beauty and diversity of the gardens at Old Westbury. These tours offer an in-depth look at specific areas, such as the Walled Garden or Chinese Zodiac Garden, and provide insight into the history and inspiration behind each space. Led by knowledgeable guides, Themed Garden Tours allow visitors to appreciate the unique features of each garden while learning about horticulture and design.
For those looking to hone their own gardening skills, Old Westbury Gardens also offers Gardening Workshops throughout the year. From composting basics to flower arranging techniques, these workshops cover a range of topics that cater to both novice and experienced gardeners alike. Attendees have the opportunity to learn hands-on alongside expert instructors in a picturesque setting that inspires creativity and growth.
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The Rose Garden boasts over 2 acres of roses with more than 200 varieties. The Walled Garden showcases early 20th century formal English style inspired by Gertrude Jekyll. The Chinese Zodiac Garden features twelve bronze animal sculptures representing each sign of the zodiac set among traditional Chinese motifs. The Cottage Garden evokes an informal country garden with its mix of perennials, annuals, herbs, vegetables and fruit trees. The Orchard Hill area includes apple orchards, perennial borders featuring native wildflowers along with ornamental grasses.
As visitors wander through Old Westbury Gardens’ lush landscapes filled with blooming flowers and fragrant herbs, they cannot help but feel transported to another time and place. With opportunities like Themed Garden Tours and Gardening Workshops available throughout the year, there is always something new to discover and learn. Next, we will explore the enchanting world of the rose gardens at Old Westbury Gardens.
The Rose Gardens
The Rose Gardens at Old Westbury Gardens are a sight to behold. This area of the estate features over 2,000 rose bushes and is one of the most popular attractions for visitors.
In recent years, there has been significant effort put into restoring this garden to its former glory. Thanks to these restoration efforts, the Rose Garden now boasts an impressive collection of roses that bloom throughout the season.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of colors and fragrances as they stroll through the winding pathways lined with trellises covered in climbing roses. The garden also includes several benches and seating areas where guests can relax and take in the beauty around them.
Throughout the year, Old Westbury Gardens hosts various events centered around the Rose Garden. From workshops on rose care to guided tours led by horticultural experts, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to learn more about this stunning display of nature’s beauty. Guests can even attend special events such as concerts or outdoor theater performances held amongst the blooms.
With so much natural splendor on display, it’s no wonder why visitors flock to Old Westbury Gardens’ Rose Garden every year. However, those who venture beyond this breathtaking space will find themselves surrounded by another equally enchanting area – the walled gardens.
The Walled Gardens
Beyond the mansion, you will find a hidden gem that is worth exploring – The Walled Gardens.
This section of Old Westbury Gardens contains various garden architectures that are perfect for those who love to witness seasonal changes in their full glory.
The gardens’ design showcases an array of formal garden architecture styles such as parterre and knot gardens, which were prominent during the Renaissance era. These structures are designed with precise symmetry and geometrical patterns, making them visually stunning from any angle. It is like seeing an intricate dance between nature’s beauty and man-made precision.
As seasons change throughout the year, so does the scenery within these walls. Visitors can enjoy a colorful display of tulips and daffodils in spring or immerse themselves in beautiful foliage during autumn. Each visit provides a different experience as it evolves through time just like life itself.
As you walk around this picturesque space, immerse yourself in its artistry while admiring how each element harmonizes perfectly with one another.
Moving on from The Walled Gardens, visitors can explore woodland walks and fountains where they can see yet another side of nature’s magnificence at Old Westbury Gardens.
Woodland Walks And Fountains
The Walled Gardens at Old Westbury Gardens offer a stunning display of horticulture, with vibrant colors and intricate designs. Visitors can explore the various garden rooms that showcase different styles, from the French Parterre to the Rose Garden. The gardens are meticulously maintained by trained horticulturists who ensure each plant is healthy and thriving.
As visitors make their way through the Woodland Walks and Fountains section of Old Westbury Gardens, they will be struck by the natural beauty surrounding them. With over 200 acres of land, this area offers plenty of space for nature photography enthusiasts to capture incredible shots of native plants and wildlife.
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, this section also provides ample picnic areas where families can relax and enjoy a meal in a serene setting.
Preserving the beauty of Old Westbury Gardens is a top priority for those involved in maintaining this historic site. From carefully pruning trees to controlling invasive species, every effort is made to protect the environment while still allowing visitors to enjoy all it has to offer.
As guests leave the Woodland Walks and Fountains behind, they can rest assured knowing that countless hours have been devoted to ensuring that future generations will be able to experience the same sense of wonder and tranquility as they did during their visit.
Preserving The Beauty Of Old Westbury Gardens
Like a fine piece of art, Old Westbury Gardens has been crafted with care and precision. Its beauty is not only in the physical form but also in its history and culture.
The gardens have undergone various phases of garden restoration to preserve the original design while adapting it to modern times. This approach ensures that visitors can witness the splendor of what was once an exclusive estate for today’s audiences.
Garden restoration at Old Westbury Gardens involves various activities that aim to maintain the integrity of the landscape. These include tree pruning, soil management, pest control, and plant replacement programs. Each activity is carefully planned by expert horticulturists who consider factors such as climate change, ecological balance, and visitor safety. By doing so, they ensure that every element within the garden contributes to its natural beauty without compromising on quality or sustainability.
Community involvement plays a crucial role in preserving the beauty of Old Westbury Gardens. Volunteers from different backgrounds contribute their time and skills towards maintaining this iconic landmark through various initiatives such as fundraising events, educational programs, and conservation projects. Their dedication ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy the same charm and elegance seen by previous ones.
As we move forward into uncertain times with regards to our environment, community participation remains essential in safeguarding these historic sites for all who cherish them. The preservation of Old Westbury Gardens goes beyond mere maintenance; it reflects a commitment to cultural heritage and environmental stewardship that resonates throughout society.
Through continued efforts towards preservation, we honor the vision of those before us while inspiring future generations towards greater appreciation for nature’s intrinsic value. We must strive continuously to protect this treasure trove of botanical wonders so that it may thrive for generations yet unborn!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There A Fee To Enter Old Westbury Gardens?
Located in Old Westbury, NY, visitors may wonder if there is an entry fee to explore the stunning Old Westbury Gardens.
The answer is yes, as admission fees are necessary for funding its continued preservation and maintenance.
Currently, adults can expect to pay $12 while seniors (62+) and college students with a valid ID will receive a discounted rate of $10.
Children ages 7-17 years old are charged at $7 while children under six get free admission.
On-site parking options include complimentary self-parking or premium valet services for an additional cost.
Visitors should note that tickets must be purchased online ahead of time due to limited capacity and timed-entry reservations during peak periods.
Are Pets Allowed In The Gardens?
Pet owners who are looking for pet-friendly activities while exploring gardens should take note of the established pet etiquette guidelines.
Before bringing pets to any garden, make sure they are well-behaved and can follow basic commands.
Owners must also maintain control over their pets at all times by keeping them on a leash or harness.
It is important to remember that not everyone loves animals as much as you do; therefore, be mindful of other visitors’ personal space and avoid letting your furry friend get too close.
Additionally, it is essential to clean up after your pet’s waste properly.
Following these simple rules will help ensure an enjoyable visit for both you and your furry companion.
Can Visitors Bring Their Own Food And Drinks?
Visitors to Old Westbury Gardens may be pleased to know that they are allowed to bring their own food and drinks into the gardens.
There are designated picnic areas available for those who wish to enjoy a meal or snack in a picturesque outdoor setting.
Additionally, visitors can explore local restaurants in the area before or after their visit to the gardens.
While outside food is permitted, it is important to note that alcoholic beverages are prohibited on garden grounds.
Guests should also ensure that they dispose of any garbage properly so as not to disrupt the natural beauty of this historic estate.
Overall, bringing your own food and drinks can add an extra level of enjoyment to your time at Old Westbury Gardens.
Are There Guided Tours Available?
Looking for a way to enhance your experience at Old Westbury Gardens?
Consider taking one of our guided tours, which offer an in-depth look at the history and beauty of this iconic estate.
Our knowledgeable guides will lead you on a journey through time as they share fascinating stories about the property’s past owners, its stunning architecture and gardens, and more.
Tours are available daily during regular hours of operation, with both public and private options available depending on your preferences.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned pro, our guided tour experience is sure to leave you feeling enriched and inspired.
So why wait? Book your tour today and discover all that Old Westbury Gardens has to offer!
Is The Mansion Open For Public Tours?
Public access to the mansion at Old Westbury Gardens is currently limited due to ongoing restoration efforts.
However, visitors are still able to explore the gardens and grounds of this historic site, which was once home to one of Long Island’s most prominent families.
The estate boasts over 200 acres of landscaped gardens, woodlands, and open fields, as well as several other buildings that can be toured.
Despite the temporary closure of the mansion, its historical significance remains unparalleled in the region and continues to draw visitors from all over who seek a glimpse into the opulent lifestyles of America’s Gilded Age elite.
Old Westbury Gardens in Old Westbury, NY is a stunning estate that offers visitors the opportunity to explore over 200 acres of beautiful gardens and landscapes. While there is an admission fee for entry into the gardens, it is well worth the cost to experience the beauty and serenity of this historic property.
Pet owners are unfortunately not allowed to bring their furry friends onto the grounds, but visitors are welcome to bring their own food and drinks for picnicking on designated areas throughout the property.
Guided tours are also available for those who wish to learn more about the history and significance of Old Westbury Gardens.
One cannot help but be swept away by the grandeur and elegance of this magnificent estate. From its meticulously manicured lawns to its ornately decorated mansion, every detail is carefully crafted to transport visitors back in time.
The sweeping vistas and vibrant colors of the gardens invite guests to linger awhile, soaking up all that Old Westbury Gardens has to offer.
It truly is a must-see destination for anyone seeking refuge from modern life’s hustle and bustle.
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