Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate – Tarrytown, New York - Atlas Obscura
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Tarrytown, New York

Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate

The home of one of America's most wealthy industrialists is now a historic site that remembers a more decadent time in the country's history. 

Built to be the family home of one of the wealthiest men in American history, Kykuit is now open for the average middle-class (and otherwise) visitor who may even catch a glimpse of one of the original owner’s relatives.

John D. Rockefeller had this extraordinary Colonial-style mansion built in 1913 on the hills overlooking Tarrytown, New York and it was to be his family’s home for four generations. The Standard Oil Company made him America’s most wealthy individual, and this opulent six-story house is a testament to his riches. Equipped with a private golf course and a coach barn filled with luxury horse carriages and automobiles, the industrialist spared no expense. Rockefeller imported full grown trees from Italy and surrounded the grounds with them so the common people of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow would not be able to look upon the estate. Furnished with stunning views across the Hudson Valley, Rockefeller also bought up all the land on the opposite side of the Hudson River so that no one could build houses on it and spoil his view. 

After Rockefeller’s death, the wealthy industrialist’s grandson and one-time governor of New York, Nelson gathered one of the greatest private collections of modern art in America to store in the basement. Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, Henry Moore and Andy Warhol were just some of the priceless works kept in the private underground gallery.

While much of the historic house is now open to visitors, Nelson’s wife Happy Rockefeller still lives on the property in a more modestly sized summer house, and lucky explorers may see her sipping a cocktail by the side of the outdoor pool.