De Lamar House, Polish Consulate

Upon walking around in Midtown, I came across a  gorgeous   mansion at the   southeast corner of Madison Avenue and East 37th Street.   This is the Joseph Raphael De Lamar House,  a mansion that really look like a mansion with a towering mansard roof decorated with copper cresting and shell motifs.  This house, built in a robust Beaux Art Style, is one of the most spectacular  mansions in the city.

Joseph Raphael De Lamar was born in Holland around 1843.   When he was a teenager he  stowed away aboard a Dutch ship  heading to the West Indies. When Joseph was found, he was put to work without pay as assistant to the cook.  Later he became the owner  and the captain of his own merchant ship and visited nearly every port in the world. He settled   first in Martha's Vineyard later he was lured westward by the discovery of gold in California.  In November 1879 he purchased the Terrible Lead Mine in Custer County, Colorado for $5500.   Later    DeLamar became interested in the   copper mines.  It was the beginnig... Three former mining cities, which are today ghost towns, Delamar, Nevada, De Lamar, Idaho, and Delamar, California, were renamed after him; the last is now under water of Shasta Lake. The Delamar Mountains, a mountain range in Lincoln County, Nevada, as well a mountain summit in San Bernardino County, California, were also named after him.  Later De Lamar was attracted by the finance opportunities on New York City. 

The mansion was built   1902 by Charles Pierrepont Henry Gilbert,  a society architect whose stock in trade was extravagant private mansions; his list of clients included the Woolworths.

The first floor housed an expansive dining room, library and a billiard room. The main oval staircase incorporated a fountain surrounded by exotic plants and marble figurines. The second floor boasted a ballroom, a concert hall, and an art gallery painted in Pompeiian red with Tiffany stained glass illuminated by electricity, which made this magnificent structure quite modern for its time. The mansion had an elevator   designed to lower a horse and carriage into the basement, and was later used for cars.

Pembroke at Glen Cove
 The Long Island residence of the De Lamar Family.
In 1916 De Lamar built a huge  French neoclassical estate in Glen Cove, Long Island.  This 60,000 square foot Gold Coast Mansion included 12 bedrooms, 12 baths, a billiard room, den, dining room, mirrored breakfast room, long party rooms to entertain hundreds of guests. De Lamar enjoyed playing an  pipe organ at the base of his stairway. Large windows overlooked exquisite gardens, the private bathing casino and boat landing on the Long Island Sound. 

Estate  was demolished in 1968. 10-story belvedere water tower - is still standing in a luxury gated community called the Legend Yacht & Beach Club. The  historic gates to this  estate in   Glen Cove were stolen January this year from a Port Washington property    and were not found.

Joseph  l De Lamar lived with his daughter and eleven servants in his  French mansion in Manhattan from 1906 until his death from pneumonia at seventy five years of age, in 1918. De Lamar’s obituary in New York Times described him as a Wall Street “man of mystery” and mentioned that he was an accomplished organist. He left an estate worth at least $32 million.
In 1923 the house became headquarters for the National Democratic Club for fifty years. In 1973  the Republic of Poland bought the mansion for $900,000.   The  Polish government restored the mansion  from top to bottom.

Situated just outside the Consulate General of Poland in New York, now there is  a bronze statue of a man playing chess.  It is the statue of Jan Karski, Polish resistance leader.   I'' l  tell you about Karski and this statue in my next post.

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