Lord’s Castle: An 1890s Beaux-Arts Dream

For a historic interiors fanatic, going through CIRCA’s listings is definitely a guilty pleasure. While seeking out this week’s subject, I came across the listing for Lord’s Castle in Piermont, New York. Love at first sight! With a history dating back to the 1840s, an intervention by one of the most prolific architectural firms in the history of the United States and over thirty graciously detailed rooms, who would not want to call Lord’s Castle home?


All photos courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

Commissioned by Eleazar Lord in the 1840s, the prominent inveterate ecclesiastical politician and first president of the Erie Railroad, Lord’s Castle was influenced by a gothic revival sentiment that had begun sweeping the eastern seaboard in the 1830s. Lord chose Piermont as site for his country estate as it was easily accessible by rail from New York City. The house remained in the Lord family until 1890, when the estate was sold to the Thaw family, who had recently made their fortune manufacturing steel in Pittsburgh.
It was under the ownership of the Thaws that the house was transformed by leading New York City architectural firm, McKim, Mead & White who began work on Lord’s Castle in 1892. McKim, Mead & White expanded the house and redesigned the interior in accordance with the pragmatic Beaux-Arts school of design. The firm’s involvement in the project followed their tremendous success with New York’s Madison Square Garden (1890), where in 1906 Stanford White would be murdered as a result of tumultuous love triangle involving the notorious “it girl” Evelyn Nesbit.
While the Beaux-Arts is often mistakenly thought of as a style relating to the reappropriation of Greek and Roman architectural forms, in reality it is more of rational and overarching way of geometrically planning space. The principles of Beaux-Arts planning can readily be adapted to any style, which can be seen at Lord’s Castle where the interior styles range from the Colonial Revival to Arts and Crafts.
The Great Hall of Lord’s Castle is executed in a delicate classicism reminiscent of Federal era design and was likely influenced by the burgeoning Colonial Revival movement.

The Great Hall.

The paneling in the dining room was sourced form Northern Europe and is said to date from the 18th century. The movement of architectural “salvages” from Europe to the Untied States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries was a common phenomenon, as rich Americans looked for paneling to fit their antique furniture collections.

The ornate, paneled dining room.

The library is paneled in mahogany and features delicate painted stencil word and an amazing reading nook.

The library with its incredible reading nook.

The grand staircase features an impressive tripartite window complete with an elegant fanlight, a common design element during the Colonial Revival period.

The grand staircase and elegant fanlight.

One of the house’s many bedrooms featuring a beautiful wood-burning fireplace.

One of the castle’s many bedrooms.

Lord’s Castle is listed on CIRCA for $5,500,000 (more pictures there). For a walking tour through the house visit NBC New York.
A Portland, Oregon native, Vincent is particularly interested in historic interiors and decorative arts. His love for historic architecture was indulged at an early age by his parents, who kindly accompanied him on countless tours of historic houses and sites. Vincent lives in South Harlem with his partner, Nate, and their formally feral cat named Edna.


  • Amanda Davis

    This house is out of this world! I agree, the reading nook is incredible. I think all my furniture would fit on that area rug in the Great Hall – would definitely have to go shopping…


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