Frank W. Woolworth’s Gilded Age estate, Winfield Hall on Long Island is going up for auction in July and we recently had the opportunity to tour the mansion and grounds. Part of the property includes a 15,000 square foot Clock Tower Building, used in the past as an 18-car garage for collectible cars, as staff residences, and as offices. While the mansion, particularly the ground floor, has been meticulously restored even after a devastating 2015 fire, the Clock Tower has the feel of an abandoned urban exploration site.
The entranceway walls have been stripped down from the drywall to the original brick with an original spiral ironwork staircase leading to the multiple levels of the building. Abandoned objects, including an outdoor couch and grill hint at some makeshift use.
The highlight of the Clock Tower building is the enormous light-filled garage itself, which still contains a 1957 Ford Thunderbird Pothole convertible and several chandeliers, hinting at the opulence that was once bestowed upon this mundane space.
Around the garage and on the upper floors, the spaces have been subdivided into offices, with an abundance of furniture and vintage telephones still remaining. The smell of rotting wood and water damage abounds. These areas of the Clock Tower building also once held a laboratory where Reynolds wrap was invented. The Reynolds family owned the Winfield mansion after Woolworth’s death.
Despite appearances, there have been recent renovations on the Clock Tower building, predominantly structural. The tower building roof was reframed, the exterior of the building was repaired with a masonry contractor who removed the exposed rebars and patched up the parts of the facade that were crumbling. A new garage door was added as well, along with electrical repairs.
The auction of the Winfield Mansion will take place on July 14th, as part of an auction of the Martin T. Carey estate. Carey was the younger brother of former New York Governor Hugh Carey and was an avid preservationist, focused on Gilded Age estates. He owned Winfield Mansion, the nearby Cashalmara estate (also being auctioned in July), an estate in Newport, Rhode Island and more.
The Winfield Mansion was designed by C.P.H. Gilbert, a renowned architect of the Gilded Age set. In New York City, you may be familiar with his work — he designed what’s known as the Harry F. Sinclair House (the Ukrainian Institute today), the Otto H. Kahn House (now Convent of the Sacred Heart), Felix M. Warburg House (now the Jewish Museum), and the Joseph Raphael De Lamar House (now the Polish Consulate).
Next, read about the secrets of the Winfield Mansion and see more photographs of the stunning property!.