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The Gould & Guggenheim Estate

by Sophia Lian

The Gould - Guggenheim Estate is home to historic mansions and beautiful natural landscape. The Sands Point Preserve gives tours to visitors with the goal of allowing people to come appreciate the history of preserved properties. The estate consists of four mansions that were built throughout the first half of the 1900s: Castle Gould, Hempstead House, Falaise, and Mille Fleur. The Gould - Guggenheim Estate stands as a reflection of a period where New York elites displayed their wealth by purchasing estates on the Gold Coast, Long Island’s North Shore.


The history of this estate dates to 1900 when Howard Gould purchased undeveloped land where The Gould - Guggenheim Estate is today. Howard Gould was a son of Jay Gould, railroad tycoon and one of the richest Americans in history. The first mansion, Castle Gould, was built by Howard Gould in an attempt to impress his wife Katherine Clemmons. Castle Gould, modeled after Kilkenny Castle in Ireland, was built in 1902. However, his wife was not impressed by Castle Gould. As another attempt to please his wife, Gould built the Hempstead House. The Hempstead House is a Tudor-style home that is much smaller than Castle Gould. The two mansions on the estate fell short in keeping Katherin Clemmons satisfied. Their marriage soon ended in divorce with Clemmons being accused of having an affair with William F. Cody. The Hempstead House was then used as a summer residence where grand parties and world-class performances were hosted, a place to gather top elites.


After the divorce, Gould sold the Gould - Guggenheim Estate to silver mining tycoon Daniel Guggenheim. Daniel Guggenheim gave 90 acres of the estate to Harry Guggenheim, his son, on the occasion of Harry’s marriage. On the estate, Harry Guggenheim built another mansion in the style of a French-Norman manor. The new mansion sat on top of a bluff, inspiring the mansion to be named Falaise, a French word that means cliff. Falaise was later used as a summer house. Daniel Guggenheim’s wife, Florence Guggenheim, built the fourth mansion, Mille Fleur.


After the death of Harry Guggenheim, a large part of the estate was given to Nassau County that was later used as a museum site. Florence Guggenheim donated the 162 acres of the estate to Aeronautical Science in 1942. Then, the estate was sold to the Navy in 1946 to be used as a ground for offices, laboratories, and training center.


The estate passed through the wealthy Gould and Guggenheim families. The Sands Point peninsula as a representation of the early 19th hundred Gold Coast period is often seen to be the setting of “East Egg'' in the Great Gatsby, a great American novel. The mansions built on the estate are still recognized as an embodiment of the magnificent and luxurious lifestyle of elites that is shown in the novel. The Gould - Guggenheim Estate is owned by Nassau County and is being preserved and maintained by the Sand Point Conservancy who opens the property to the public year-round.

Sources Include:

“About.” Sands Point Preserve. Accessed May 28, 2024.

“Castle Gould.” Sands Point Preserve. Accessed May 28, 2024.

Dijkstra, Kimberly. “The History of Hempstead House.” Long Island Weekly, October 25,


“Hempstead House (Gould-Guggenheim Estate).” Clio. Accessed May 28, 2024.

“Hempstead House.” Sands Point Preserve. Accessed May 28, 2024.

“Mission & History.” Sands Point Preserve. Accessed May 28, 2024.


Ugc. “Sands Point Preserve.” Atlas Obscura, July 12, 2013.

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