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May 27, 2012

Incredible pics show $30m `Great Gatsby` mansion in all its former glory

London: Photographs of the colonial mansion, which is said to be the inspiration of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic ‘The Great Gatsby’, clearly show the estate’s former grandeur. In the roaring twenties, the lavish home on the North Shore of Long Island was the go-to party house for the likes of Fitzgerald, Winston Churchill and the Marx Brothers. Lands End came to a sad end last month when it was demolished after the owners could no longer afford the 4,500 dollars a day upkeep of the home. The estate, which sprawled over 13 acres, was valued at 30 million dollars when it was torn down, the Daily Mail reported. The incredible photos, from an old listing brochure posted on Old Long Island blog, were taken in the ‘70s or early ‘80s, before the mansion was brought in 1983. The brochure lists the house for 2.5 million dollars, a sum that includes “all furniture, drapes, linens, complete service of English threat silver and Baccarat crystal for 48, furnishings in all bldgs.” As well as 10 bedrooms, the brochure details the property as having nine and a half bathrooms, six servant rooms, multiple sitting rooms, a 7-car garage and a sauna. Fitzgerald is said to have based Daisy Buchanan’s home in his 1925 masterpiece on the extravagant mansion. Built in 1902, the New York World newspaper executive editor Herbert Bayard Swope brought the property, which was originally called Keewaydin, in 1929. He used to throw extravagant parties for guests including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx and Albert Einstein. After moving to the island with his wife, Zelda, in 1922, Fitzgerald watched the grand parties from his veranda in Great Neck across the bay imagining what went on there. Guests danced on the roof of a rounded cabana by the 75ft swimming pool, and would have stayed in one of the six family-sized bedrooms while the Swopes lived in the three-room master suite. Similarly, in the classic novel, Daisy Buchanan’s house has a green light at the end of the dock which Gatsby gazes at every night from his mansion. The 24,000 sq ft mansion had 25 rooms, which in its heyday had Palladian windows, marble floors and hand-painted wallpaper. As well as views across Long Island sound, it had its own tennis court, two private sandy beaches and a 75ft swimming pool. There was even a bird sanctuary next door. The home was one of the few remaining relics harking back to Fitzgerald’s time. It was built on a strip of land known as the Gold Coast where wealthy New Yorkers built estates. In 1983 Mets owner Charles Shipman Payson brought the estate, christening it Lands End. The property’s last owner developer Burt Brodsky, purchased the illustrious home from Virginia Kraft Payson, the late wife of Charles Shipman Payson. He planned to renovate it and turn it into a family home, but it proved too costly with the maintenance costing 4,500 dollars a day. In 2006, he estimated it would cost around 2 million dollars to make it liveable. Now there are plans to build five custom built homes worth 10 million dollars each on the property in a community called Seagate in the village of Sands Point.

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