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Gilded Age 1913 ‘Five and Dime’ Woolworth Mansion Burns On Long Island

January 30, 2015 by Billionaire Addresses

Once one of the East Coast’s most elaborate estates, the marble-pillared Gilded Age Woolworth Mansion that was constructed in 1916 has partially burned. What is one Billionaire Addresses favorite mansions from the gilded-age period caught fire Wednesday. The blaze erupted shortly before 11am in a first-floor bedroom, officials said. Flames quickly spread through a wing of the 25,000-square-foot structure.

The current owner, Martin Carey, the brother of former New York Governor Hugh Carey, was not home at the time of the blaze, but the groundskeeper, who is a part-time firefighter, alerted the fire department after seeing smoke billowing from the house while plowing snow, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Carey family has lived in the mansion since 1978. Before that it was used as a girls finishing school.

The Glen Cove, NY estate known as Winfield Hall, was named for Frank Winfield Woolworth who founded F W Woolworth Co, which ran stores known as ‘Five-and-Dimes’ selling products for five or ten cents. In 1913, he built the Woolworth Building in New York (below) which was then the tallest building in the world at 792 feet and a cost of just $13.5 million.

The Woolworth estate consists of the main residence, Winfield Hall; a large garage with remodeled living quarters; a main entrance arch; two greenhouses; and various landscape features including a tea house, all on 16.5 acres. The grand old mansion has served as the backdrop for numerous photo shoots, films and TV shows. Most recently, Taylor Swift shot a music video for her song “Blank Space” on the property.

For years, Winfield Hall has been plagued by rumors of paranormal activity as people claim to hear the cries of Woolworth’s daughter, Edna, coming from the forever-locked Marie Antoinette room. She committed suicide at the Plaza Hotel in New York on May 2, 1917.

The property was listed on the “National Register of Historic Places” in 1979.

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Winfield Hall Glen Cove, NY the 62 room mansion of Frank Winfield Woolworth

Winfield Hall Glen Cove, NY the 62 room mansion of Frank Winfield Woolworth.

Winfield Hall Glen Cove, NY the 62 room mansion of Frank Winfield Woolworth

Winfield Hall Glen Cove, NY the 62 room mansion of Frank Winfield Woolworth.

Fire damage at Winfield Hall after Wednesdays blaze.

Fire damage at Winfield Hall after Wednesdays blaze.

Fire damage at Winfield Hall after Wednesdays blaze.

Fire damage at Winfield Hall after Wednesdays blaze.

Fire damage inside Winfield Hall after Wednesdays blaze.

Fire damage inside Winfield Hall after Wednesdays blaze.

Winfield Hall or the Woolworths Long Island Mansion as it was in its heyday.

Winfield Hall or the Woolworths Long Island Mansion as it was in its heyday.

The ballroom inside Winfield Hall.

The ballroom inside Winfield Hall.

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY.

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY.

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate’s Guest Cottage in Cove Neck, NY.

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Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY.

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY.

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY.

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Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY.

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY.

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY.

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

Aerial Image of The Woolworth Estate in Cove Neck, NY

The Woolworth's  townhouse, now called the Woolworth Mansion at 4 East 80th St New York, NY

The Woolworth’s townhouse, now known as the Woolworth Mansion at 4 East 80th St New York, NY.

The 3 townhouses built for Woolworths daughters. The middle on is now known as the Woolworth Mansion.

The 3 townhouses built for Woolworths daughters. The middle one is now known as the Woolworth Mansion and is 35 feet wide.

F.W. Woolworth hired C.P.H. Gilbert to design 3 townhouses in uptown on East 80th Street for his 3 daughters from 1911 to 1915 they built: 2 East 80th for Edna (Mrs. Franklyn) Hutton; 4 East 80th for Helena (Mrs. Charles) McCann and 6 East 80th for Jessie (Mrs. James) Donahue. All three townhouses remain today. Flanked by two 25-foot wide sister buildings, the middle mansion at 4 East 80th Street, is an astounding 35-feet wide, unheard of in New York in today’s market. sadly, those connected to the Woolworth mansion died young and under odd circumstances: F.W. Woolworth died at age 66 of a dental infection (he feared dentists); Edna committed suicide at age 35 at the Plaza Hotel (depressed over her husband’s philandering); Barbara Hutton died at age 66 from a heart attack (she squandered her tens of millions and had little more than $3,000 at the time of her death); and Lucille Roberts — the fitness guru — died at age 59 from lung cancer.

Another note; Barbara Hutton, Woolworth’s granddaughter, was dubbed the “Poor Little Rich Girl” by the media for her troubled life and featured in a movie of the same name. Hutton was once married to actor Cary Grant. She died May 11, 1979.

Inside the Woolworth Mansion, 4 East 80th St, New York, NY

Inside the Woolworth Mansion, 4 East 80th St, New York, NY

Inside the Woolworth Mansion, 4 East 80th St, New York, NY

Inside the Woolworth Mansion, 4 East 80th St, New York, NY

Inside the Woolworth Mansion, 4 East 80th St, New York, NY

Inside the Woolworth Mansion, 4 East 80th St, New York, NY

Inside the Woolworth Mansion, 4 East 80th St, New York, NY

Inside the Woolworth Mansion, 4 East 80th St, New York, NY

The neo-French Renaissance mansion (the middle one in the photo above) was completed in 1916 and features a limestone facade. Other details of the mansion;

  • 18,000 sq ft
  • 7 floors
  • 10 bedrooms
  • 11.5 bathrooms
  • 3 kitchens
  • Paneled library
  • Elevator
  • 14-foot ceilings
  • Formal dining room with seating for 50
  • Last List Price $90 Million
The ornamentation outside the main entrance to the Woolworth Mansion 4 East 80th Street, New York.

The ornamentation outside the main entrance to the Woolworth Mansion 4 East 80th Street, New York.

The Original Woolworth Family Mansion at 5th Ave and 80th St in New York.

The Original Woolworth Family Mansion built for just $90,000 in 1901 at 5th Ave and 80th St in New York. It was torn down in the 1920’s to make room for apartment buildings.

Interior of the Woolworth Mansion in New York City, New York.

Interior of the Woolworth Mansion in New York City, New York.

Below is the commercial building Woolworth had built in 1910 in New York City.

The Woolworth Building in New York City as it looked right after being built in 1910.

The Woolworth Building in New York City as it looked right after being built in 1910.

The Woolworth Building in New York City as it looks today.

The Woolworth Building in New York City as it looks today. The 7 story penthouse suite is on the market for $110 Million.

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There have been so many interesting articles and stories written about the famed Woolworth Family. With just a quick internet search, you can find millions of interesting things about them, their mansions, buildings and lives.

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