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Farewell Lands End... What would Jay Gatsby think of this?





Lands End in Long Island (not to be confused by the preppy company bearing the same name) is slated to be razed shortly and property to be sub-divided  to make way for several luxury homes.

The grand 25 room Colonial Revival which was built in 1911, is said to have inspired the home of Daisy Buchanan's in East Egg is slated to be razed. Once a glorious mansion, where lavish parties entertained such personalities as Winston Churchill, The Marx Brothers and Ethyl Barrymore. One can still envision F. Scott and Zelda, together on the back deck, drinking in the view of the Long Island Sound... rooms of marble, parquet and wide wood-planked floors, Palladian windows and hand-painted wallpaper... one can still imagine the melodic and joyful sounds of the times.



I understand the costs of maintaining such properties are exorbitant but surely something must be done to protect our history. Beautiful pieces of American Architecture representing our past, our passions and our identities are being razed to make way for new and offensive and most often gaudy homes lacking taste and certainly lacking any of our history.

Why is it that when we travel to other countries their buildings stand for centuries and ours don't? Bigger and newer certainly do not make for better. 

Fitzgerald who wrote so often and so well about the Haves and the Have Nots and those caught in between... Who so eloquently showed us about those trying to keep up with the Joneses as he and Zelda were certainly caught up back then... They were not well to do though they lived a lavish lifestyle traveling from New York to Newport and the South of France with the wealthy socialites of the Gilded Age. 

What would F. Scott think of these homes being demolished? Homes of the Morgans and glass-maker Louis Tiffany? And now the very one that helped shape his most popular book, The Great Gatsby? Would he agree  to this nonsense? Yes, I'll go so far as to call this all nonsense. Long Island's tony Gold Coast has a preservation society and in my humble opinion this group of preservation people, if that's what they would like to call themselves, could indeed save these buildings if they wanted to. Why do I say this with such conviction and speak about this with such passion?

Because I spend a good part of my time in Newport, Rhode Island where my parents, now retired, live full time. Because you won't drive down Bellevue Avenue and see those wonderful homes, also from the Gilded Age in disrepair. Because Newport, playground to the Jazz Age's Rich and Famous, recognizes the importance of preservation for the history of the city, the state and our country. (Although, there was a period in time when Newport did let some of its fine establishments go only to make way for the lovely architecture of the 1970s. Thank goodness the people of Newport have come to their senses!)

These wonderful homes both in Newport and The Gold Coast were built by the same architects. (Stanford White among them) So why on earth is Lands End in such disrepair? The front door is off its hinges, wood floors have been torn up for salvage, windows are missing and the two-story Doric columns are unsteady. I can see Jay and Daisy, F.Scott and Zelda standing in front of the once beautiful home, champagne flutes in hand, with tears streaming from their eyes, rolling down their cheeks...



This tugs at my heart-strings for sure.
I sincerely hope, as a lover of all things antique... as a lover of the Gilded Age and a lover of F. Scott Fitzgerald that the home is spared of a wrecking ball and instead, is slowly, carefully and methodically dismantled so that what remains can be reconditioned, if need be, recycled and resold. Think of it as an organ donation... perhaps the heart and soul of Lands End can live on elsewhere...









Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby in front of Rosecliff Mansion in Newport, RI.
This home stands strong and proud and is open to the public.

For more amazing and haunting pictures of East Egg, Visit Jenn Ross Photography

Was F. Scott Fitzgerald the Gilded Age's Charlie Sheen?

Now I know my ABC's... Won't you come and bid on me!