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Flagler Museum Exhibits Work of Renowned New York Architects

Media Contact:
Tony Vargas, 212-261-1672

For Immediate Release, Please

Flagler Museum Exhibits Work of Renowned New York Architects

The first-ever museum exhibition of the architectural work of Carrere and Hastings, best known for their designs of the NYIT's (New York Institute of Technology) de Seversky Center and The New York Public Library (1897-1911), will be presented at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida. The exhibition, "A Genuine Style: The Beaux-Arts Architecture of Carrere & Hastings," runs January 20 through April 4, 2004, and will feature many never-before seen drawings, artifacts and photographs.

One of the remaining architectural works of the Carrere & Hastings firm in the New York area is NYIT's de Seversky Center which sits on the 100 acre Old Westbury campus on the fabled Gold Coast stretch of Long Island's North Shore. At a time of optimism and soaring fortunes, the wealthiest of New York built country showplaces and playgrounds within the easy commute of Manhattan. The neo-classical Georgian mansion was originally commissioned in 1916 to be corporate heir and mogul, Alfred I. Dupont's residence and was called "White Eagle."

"White Eagle," was completed in 1918 at a cost of $1,102,000 and required a staff of 29 to look after its needs and those of Mr. and Mrs. Du Pont. Mrs. Du Pont, born Alicia Bradford Maddox, died unexpectedly in 1920.

Upon remarrying, Alfred Du Pont sold the mansion in 1926 to Mr. and Mrs. Frederick E. Guest. Mrs. Guest, the daughter of Carnegie Steel Company partner, Henry Phipps, renamed the mansion "Templeton" when her husband, who was Winston Churchill's first cousin and the grandson of the seventh Duke of Marlborough, died 1937. When her parents gave up their Fifth Avenue residence in Manhattan, she had the marble entry hall and stairs removed to "Templeton." Upon her death in 1959, the mansion was passed down to her son, Winston Guest, who was well known as an international polo player.

"The Flagler Museum is the ideal place for this exhibition, since Henry Flagler was the firm's earliest and most loyal patron," says Flagler Museum Chief Curator, Laurie Ossman. In 1885, Flagler offered the architects a million dollar contract to design and build the Ponce de Leon Hotel in the burgeoning resort community of St. Augustine, Florida. Within five years, the young designers had also built five churches, a railroad station and another hotel for Flagler in St. Augustine. In 1901, they designed Whitehall, Flagler's Palm Beach residence and now home of The Flagler Museum, a National Historic Landmark, where the exhibit will take place.

"Within a few years of the Flagler commissions, their client list read like the Fortune 500 of the Gilded Age," notes Flagler Museum Executive Director John Blades. The exhibition will include building designs for such notables as: John D. and William Rockefeller; Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, Murry and Daniel Guggenheim, Elihu Root, Mrs. Frederick Guest, Vincent Astor, Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, George W. Vanderbilt, Edward H. Harriman and Alfred I. Dupont.

In addition to the NYIT de Seversky Center and the New York Public Library, Carrere and Hastings designed such well-known landmarks as The Pulitzer Fountain in Grand Army Plaza, The Frick Collection and Neue Galerie in New York, as well as; The Carnegie Institution, the Cannon House and Russell Senate Office Buildings in Washington, DC, and the Amphitheatre at Arlington Memorial Cemetery.

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de Seversky Center & The Gold Coast...
de Seversky Center

The NYIT de Seversky Center (Mansion) resides on the pristine campus of the NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) at Old Westbury and midpoint on the fabled Gold Coast stretch of Long Island's North Shore. At a time of optimism and soaring fortunes, the wealthy of New York built country showplaces and playgrounds within easy commute of Manhattan. Alfred I. Du Pont was one of them. In 1915, the corporate heir and mogul moved to New York and in 1916 commissioned Architect Thomas Hastings of the firm of Carrere & Hastings to design his new Long Island residence. "White Eagle," as the neo-classical Georgian mansion was called, was completed in 1918 at a cost of $1,102,000. A staff of 29 was engaged to look after its needs and those of Mr. and Mrs. Du Pont, who was born Alicia Bradford Maddox. Mrs. Du Pont died, unexpectedly, in 1920. When Alfred Du Pont remarried he sold the mansion, in 1926, to Mr. and Mrs. Frederick E. Guest. Mrs. Guest, the former Amy Phipps, was the daughter of Henry Phipps, Andrew Carnegie's partner in the Carnegie Steel Company. Her husband, Winston Churchill's first cousin, was the grandson of the seventh Duke of Marlborough. Frederick Guest died in 1937, and Mrs. Guest stayed on at the estate, which she had renamed "Templeton." When her parents gave up their Fifth Avenue residence in Manhattan, she had the marble entry hall and stairs removed to "Templeton." Upon her death in 1959, the mansion was passed down to her son, Winston Guest, who was well known as an international polo player.

In 1972, New York Institute of Technology purchased the mansion from Winston Guest and renamed it after Alexander P. de Seversky, a famous Russian aviator and a member of the NYIT Board of Trustees who was instrumental in the acquisition.

A Showplace Inside and Out

The mansion is reached from a long, curving drive off Northern Boulevard (25A), the main North Shore artery from Colonial times through the Roaring '20s. Off the drive is a large pond. Now home to a flock of wild Canadian geese, its tranquil waters not only frame a picturesque view from the back of the mansion but once provided the heat pump for its early air-conditioning system. Past the pond, the sweeping approach to the mansion offers a view of its splendid curved and columned loggia that opens off the ballroom. Along the west, north and east sides, the mansion is lined with luxurious verandas and distinguished marble urns. Two towering limestone pillars mark the formal entrance and lead quickly to the oval entry driveway pivoted on a grand center urn and framed on its perimeter by Linden trees.

The marble entry hall with its grand staircase is one of the mansion's most arresting features. The stairs lead to 13 upstairs bedrooms and parlors (today used as offices) designed in classic European country style and originally decorated by Charles of London. Off the main hallway are oak-paneled rooms with refined fireplaces. (The Entrance Hall, Reception Room and the exterior portion of the Ballroom appear in the film "Arthur" starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli.)

At the north end of the entry foyer is the Library. Its left wall of bookshelves conceals a hidden door that opens into a large hallway leading into the West Wing. The Terrace Room, Bar-Lounge and Dining Room are located there. The Dining Room, which was formerly part of the Guest's original kitchen, is complemented by an attached atrium called the Garden Room. The dining facilities are open to the NYIT faculty and staff as well as the public for lunch daily and dinner several nights a month.

Please contact: Deborah Rhodes at (516) 686-7675


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