Image via Flickr by Joseph
This article is from our partner, Urban Ghosts, a website on hidden history and offbeat travel.
The abandoned mansion known as Wyndcliffe stands on the eastern bank of the Hudson River near Rhinebeck, New York. Built in 1853 at a time when new rail links made it possible for wealthy merchants and bankers to work in the city but live in the countryside, this Norman-style brick-built villa originally called Rhinecliff and set amid 80 acres of land, was designed by George Veitch with construction led by John Byrd.
Its first owner, Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones, may have inspired the idiom “Keeping up with the Joneses.” The phrase may refer to this 24-room mansion because its construction initiated the building of several more grand houses intended to display wealth and social status.
Wyndcliffe’s Gothic features may be considered grand by most but notably Edith Wharton (Elizabeth Jones’ niece), a writer and designer, thought it gloomy on her childhood visits and apparently once dubbed it a monstrosity. Before it was abandoned around 1950, Wyndcliffe had several owners including a beer baron and cooper named Andrew Finck who called the villa Linden Hall or Finck Castle.
While other grand houses in the Hudson River Valley have been demolished or renovated, Wyndcliffe stands in a ruinous state.
See and read more about Wyndcliffe on Urban Ghosts.