Sands Point Preserve – Sands Point, New York - Atlas Obscura

Sands Point Preserve

The former estate of the Guggenheims, part of the opulent Gold Coast that inspired the Great Gatsby. 


The elite of New York built their mansions along the Long Island Sound in the beginning of the 20th century, and at the Sands Point Preserve you can explore one of the most opulent, that of the Guggenheims.

Known as the Gold Coast, this area of palatial estates was the inspiration for the extravagances of the Great Gatsby. The Sands Point Preserve area was originally owned by Howard Gould, the son of railroad robber baron Jay Gould. Gould first built a massive medieval castle modeled after Ireland’s Kilkenny Castle, complete with an 80-foot-tall clock tower. It was all an attempt to please his wife actress Katherine Clemmons. But she hated it, so he built another mansion, this a Tudor home nearby. She didn’t like this either, or maybe just didn’t like him, as they got a divorce, with none other than William F. Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, the man she was accused of infidelity with.

The estate was purchased after the divorce by Daniel Guggenheim, and it remained with his family until it became the preserve. Part of the estate was given to his son Harry Guggenheim to build his own estate called Falaise, decked out in a trove of medieval architectural and artistic artifacts. His friend Charles Lindbergh was a frequent guest, and even left his station wagon at one point, and it remains in the garage. 

While the Hempstead House is now mostly an event venue, after having served as a World War II orphanage, Falaise is preserved as Harry Guggenheim left it. You can also explore the beautiful surrounding landscape and the beach, now open to all after once being a private pleasure place.  

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July 12, 2013

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