Wheatleigh was built by the New York financier, banker, railroad director, and real estate tycoon Henry H. Cook. The mansion was a gift for his daughter Georgie upon her wedding to a Spanish Count. Built as a “summer cottage”, the estate was based on a 16th century Florentine palazzo and designed by the architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns. No expense was spared in beautifying the opulent mansion; over 150 artisans and many materials were brought over from Italy to adorn the interior and exterior with intricate carvings, while Frederick Law Olmsted–the landscape architect who co-designed Central Park–was assigned the task of creating a “Wheatleigh Park” on the land surrounding the palazzo.
Despite all this, the count and countess only resided in their “summer cottage” for six weeks throughout the year, with their permanent residence being on Fifth Avenue. Most of the 380 acres of the estate was used as a working farm.
The Italianate mansion is currently one of the smallest members of The Leading Hotels of the World and has a fine dining restaurant. Wheatleigh was also listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1982.