Seminary of the Immaculate Conception | Lloyd Harbor, New York - Atlas Obscura
Seminary of the Immaculate Conception is permanently closed.

Seminary of the Immaculate Conception

Lloyd Harbor, New York

Now a retreat center for the faithful, it once provided training for clergy—but it began as a farm owned by a famed financier and his opera singer wife, who built a surprise in the backyard. 

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Established in 1930 on a plot of 200 acres in Lloyd Harbor on Long Island, the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception trained future clergy members in the Diocese of Rockville Center, including Nassau and Suffolk counties, for 82 years, until the educational programming relocated to Yonkers in 2012. But before the land was purchased by the diocese in 1924, it was owned by Ronald Roy Conklin, a descendant of the original colonizers of Huntington and the owner of the North American Trust Company, which grew from a successful real estate partnership.

Conklin and his wife, the famous opera singer Mary McFadden, settled on what was then known as Rosemary Farm in 1913, living in a 30-room mansion overlooking Lloyd Harbor. Perhaps more fascinating though, is a treasure that lies just beyond the ruins of the home—an outdoor amphitheater built as a gift for McFadden.

Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, of Central Park and Prospect Park fame, it hosted the National Red Cross Pageant in 1917, drawing thousands of guests and featuring a march led by John Philip Sousa. The amphitheater had an unusual design, with a moat in the center separating the audience and the performers on stage—quite the way to handle pesky hecklers!

When the property was purchased by the diocese, the amphitheater fell into disuse, but has since been restored by the folks at the seminary. Few venture beyond the main building to explore the wonders in the backyard.

Know Before You Go

Drive through the main entrance and to the right of the building, where there should be parking spaces for guests at the Seminary. Start walking on the asphalt road that passes the rear of the building. Shortly, you'll come to some ruins of the mansion; walk behind it to see the amphitheater.

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August 4, 2023

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