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    See inside a historic 50,000-square-foot mansion on New York’s Gold Coast that’s featured in ‘The Gilded Age’

    Hempstead House.

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    Hempstead House at Sands Point Preserve offers guided tours to learn about its history.Originally owned by Howard Gould, the estate was later sold to the Guggenheims in 1917.The mansion served various roles, including housing WWII refugees, before becoming a public park.

    The North Shore of Long Island is known as the Gold Coast thanks to its collection of lavish mansions, which date back to the early 1900s. Many of these homes are thought to have inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s West Egg in “The Great Gatsby.”

    One such mansion is Hempstead House, which is located in Sands Point Preserve, a 216-acre park about 30 miles outside New York City.

    The entire estate was once owned by Howard Gould, a financier. He sold the land to Daniel and Florence Guggenheim in 1917, according to the preserve’s history.

    The Guggenheims lived in Hempstead House together until 1930, when Daniel died. Florence then sold all of the furniture and moved to a smaller home on the property.

    Hempstead House has had quite a journey since then, according to the Sands Point Preserve: British refugee children lived there during World War II, then the land was acquired by the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, which in turn donated it to the US Navy. The first in-flight simulator was even tested there.

    By 1971, the land was in the ownership of Nassau County, which turned the former Guggenheim estate into a park, turned two of the mansions into museums, and opened the park up to anyone willing to buy a ticket.

    In July 2024, I paid $15 to park at Sands Point Preserve and then another $10 to take a guided tour of Hempstead House.

    Here’s what it was like inside the 112-year-old mansion and what I learned about life there.

    Hempstead House on Long Island’s Gold Coast was built in 1912 by financier Howard Gould. He sold it five years later to Daniel and Florence Guggenheim.Hempstead House.

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    Source: Sands Point Preserve

    Daniel Guggenheim was the brother of Solomon Guggenheim, founder of the NYC museum, and Benjamin Guggenheim, who perished on the Titanic.The entryway to Hempstead House.

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    Hempstead House was part of 216 acres the Guggenheims purchased as a summer home. It’s now known as Sands Point Preserve.Daniel and Florence Guggenheim playing golf in 1922.

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    Today, you can tour Hempstead House. This entryway, with its original 60-foot chandelier, is one of the focal points of the home.The foyer of Hempstead House.

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    Immediately to the left is what was once known as the Palm Court. The ceiling used to be entirely glass, giving it a greenhouse feel. The metalwork is all original to the Guggenheims’ time.The Palm Court.

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    Here’s what the Palm Court looked like 100 years ago. In the bottom-right photo, the Guggenheims are pictured with Charles Lindbergh and one of the Wright brothers.The Palm Court in the ’20s.

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    Directly behind the Palm Court is the summer living room, which provides a great view of the garden.The summer living room.

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    It also features the largest fireplace in the home.The fireplace in the summer living room.

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    Another photo on display shows what the room looked like in the 1920s. The now-open archways used to have French doors.The summer living room in the ’20s.

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    Next to the living room is the library, which has a window seat that looks perfect for lounging on.The library at Hempstead House.

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    The ornate ceiling in this room is original, with busts of Shakespeare and other scholars engraved into the plaster.The ceiling in the library.

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    This room might be familiar to viewers of HBO’s “The Gilded Age.” It doubles as George Russell’s office on the show.The mantelpiece inside the library.

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    HBO really got the aesthetic down — Russell’s office essentially looks like this.The library in the ’20s.

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    These doors, which were originally carved in Spain in the 16th century, lead to the billiards room.The door leading from the billiards room to the summer living room.q

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    The billiards room also has a luxurious window seat.A window seat inside the billiards room.

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    Across from the summer living room is the dining room. The stenciling along the tops of the walls is relatively new and was put there for a design showcase.The dining room.

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    Even though it’s new, the art pays homage to the history of Hempstead House. This is a rendering of Kilkenny Castle in Ireland, which was the basis for another home on the property, Castle Gould.A stencil drawing inside the dining room.

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    Source: Business Insider

    This is the separate servants’ hallway. I learned that at its peak, Hempstead House had 16 servants living in the home, plus more in Castle Gould.The servants’ corridor.

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    This is the door to the silver safe. When the US Navy vacated the home in 1967, they sealed it up and it was only rediscovered in 2014.The silver safe.

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    This bathroom has been converted, but it used to be the servants’ dining room.The servant dining room turned bathroom.

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    We then headed upstairs, giving us another view of the impressive tower and chandelier.The foyer from the second floor.

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    We stopped at another ornate room. This was where guests were served breakfast.The breakfast room.

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    Directly next to the breakfast room was another wood-paneled study.A sitting room.

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    Hempstead House has four floors, but we only saw two. This room used to be Mrs. Guggenheim’s sitting room.Florence Guggenheim’s bedroom.

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    It has yet another perfect window seat.A window seat in Florence’s room.

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    This was her actual bedroom. It’s now used as a bridal suite when weddings are held at Hempstead House.The bridal suite.

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    Down the hall was Mr. Guggenheim’s bedroom. Now, it’s used by grooms during weddings held here.The grooms’ room.

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    It’s also one of the only rooms with a private bathroom.A bathroom.

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    We stopped at one more guest room, which was more modest.A guest room.

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    As the tour concluded, we were able to explore the gardens outside.The garden.

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    You might be wondering where the name Hempstead House comes from — it’s because that’s the Hempstead Harbor in the distance.Hempstead Harbor.

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    Hempstead House is just one of many Gold Coast mansions on Long Island that would be interesting to any history buff, and definitely worth the $10 ticket.Hempstead House.

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