Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Visit to the Great Gatsby Mansion

East Egg Shattered 

I recently encountered a dusty old box when reviewing my exploration archives. I put my lantern down for a moment and blew the dust off the top of the cardboard; I could see that it said something – “Land’s End” Eureka! It was my old files from when my team and I had visited the Gatsby era estate in Sands Point.  This expedition goes back to 2009, as the mansion has fallen victim to the wrecking ball in more recent times. 

Nestled on the tip of Cow’s Neck, the whimsical structure was a landmark to sailors in the Long Island Sound for decades.   Built in 1902, the colonial style home was made famous by newspaper baron Herbert Bayard Swope, who hosted lavish parties, often lasting for days. Guests to these parties included the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, The Marx Brothers and F. Scott Fitzgerald. It has been said that Fitzgerald would stay for extended periods of time, drawing from his experiences at these parties for his inspiration to write The Great Gatsby. Sands Point was named  "East Egg" in the novel.

 Herbert Bayard Swope
After being sold to various people over the last century and sitting abandoned for some time, a developer acquired the property and drew up plans to sub-divide the land into five separate plots - The Grand Mansion that sparked a literary classic has been destroyed as of 2011. 

Upon entering the home we were whisked away by it’s grandeur, back to another time, back to the time of Gatsby. As I made my way through the hallways I closed my eyes for a minute and tried to imagine the grand parties that once took place. The sound of Jazz echoed through the halls.  Standing still for a minute, I could almost hear champagne glasses clanking off in the distance.  

There were some pretty extraordinary things in the home. An elevator that goes from the first floor directly into the master bedroom, beautiful hand-painted Chinese style wallpaper and jaw dropping views of the Long Island Sound from almost every window  – extremely elegant.

This building, perhaps as much as any I have explored, played a significant and lasting role in the literary history of this great nation. Without estates like Land’s End, F. Scott Fitzgerald may never have written the novel that went on to define a generation. We owe these places, and the people who made them what they are, a debt of national gratitude.

We snapped these photos and took in the views. It is sad to see that this historical and architectural gem has been lost to time. All that remains are the ruins of the pool and the fantastic descriptions which will live forever on the pages of one of the world’s most beloved stories. 

A sad day.


  1. Gatsby has always been my favorite novel. Thanks for sharing this information and these pictures.

  2. Gatsby has always been my favorite novel. Thanks for sharing this information and these pictures.