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Photos of Hempstead House, a 112-year-old mansion on Long Island

The north shore of Long Island is also known as the Gold Coast thanks to its magnificent early 20th-century mansions, many of which are said to have inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s West Egg in The Great Gatsby.

One of these mansions is Hempstead House, located in Sands Point Preserve, a 216-acre park about 30 miles outside of New York City.

The entire property once belonged to financier Howard Gould. According to the history of the preserve, he sold the land to Daniel and Florence Guggenheim in 1917.

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

According to the Sands Point Preserve, Hempstead House has had quite a journey since then: it was home to British refugee children during World War II, then the land was purchased by the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, which in turn donated it to the U.S. Navy, and even hosted the first flight simulator testing there.

Since 1971, the land has belonged to Nassau County, which turned the former Guggenheim estate into a park, converted two of the mansions into museums, and opened the park to anyone who wanted to buy a ticket.

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

Here you can find out what the 112-year-old mansion looked like and what I learned about life there.