Chateau at Coindre Hall

Chateau at Coindre Hall in Huntington, New York, a lovely mansion on the Gold Coast overlooking Huntington Harbor, was inspired by a chateau. The building was constructed between 1910-1912 and is a replica of a French chateau with towers. A former 135-acre estate, West Neck Farm, included the 80,000-square-foot house. The nearby land, as well as the property, was once part of the farm.

The 33 acres of the mansion extend to a boathouse at the water’s edge, just past an old pond where the estate used to cut ice to cool the house in the summer. During the Suffolk County Department of Parks’ renovation of the boathouse, Coindre Hall rowing programs were moving to Fleets Cove Beach at the end of last summer.

Dog walkers often take their pets through the park or down to the harbor. “It’s great. We come here all the time. My dogs love it,” said Sandy White, who was out for an afternoon run with her dogs.

The estate belonged to George McKesson Brown, the heir of the McKesson pharmaceutical fortune. According to its website, the company is currently ranked No. 15 on the Fortune 500 list. Clarence Luce designed the French chateau-style mansion Chateau at Coindre Hall.

Originally used as a country home, Brown and his wife Pearl lived on the estate year-round by the end of World War I, according to the tour guide. Tour guides say Brown and his wife Pearl lived on the estate full-time by the end of World War I, despite its use as a country home. As a consequence of retrenchment, the Browns sold their mansion and moved adjacent to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship grounds.

The mansion’s architectural elements are dominated by the chateau-style, including the circular towers with cone-shaped roofs, the hipped roof on the main part and the pointy, steep masonry gables. Two towers are connected by the porch above the entrance on the second floor.

An original herringbone wood floor and a black marble fireplace flank the circular breakfast room off the entrance foyer on the right side.

Richie Liebowitz, the operations manager for Splashes of Hope, which conducts tours of the mansion, said the home has seven original fireplaces, along with the courtyard’s lead-paned windows. Following the depletion of Brown’s funds, he sold Chateau at Coindre Hall and 33 acres of his estate in 1938 to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. In 1971, the school closed.

Coindre Hall was purchased by Suffolk County for $900,000 in 1971, according to old press clippings. After sitting empty for more than a decade, it was leased to Eagle Hill School from 1982 to 1990. In 1985, the grounds and mansion were listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places and were dedicated to the Suffolk County Historic Trust in 1988. Upon getting the local landmark designation in 1990, the mansion and grounds were made public.

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