5. Joseph De Lamar’s Mansion

the Consulate General of Poland housed in one of NYC's most beautiful Beaux Arts mansions
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Wallen

Compared to other Gilded Age tycoons, Joseph De Lamar was a bit mysterious. Born in the Netherlands, he worked on a steamship in order to come to America to make his fortune. He struck it rich mining for copper, nickel, and silver in California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Canada before moving to New York in the early 1890s with ambitions of joining New York’s high society. He built a home in Newport, bought a yacht, and joined all the important private clubs before turning his attention to finding a wife.

As Dodd explains in his book, De Lamar’s choice of location was a bit unexpected, as by then most of the prominent members of New York society had moved uptown to Millionaires Row on Fifth Avenue. But it seems that J.P. Morgan had slighted De Lamar and so he hired C.P.H. Gilbert (not to be confused with Cass Gilbert) to design a home “that would literally cast a shadow over the house of Morgan.” Gilbert designed the seven-story home in the French Beaux-Arts style with a dramatic mansard roof and elaborate decorative flourishes.

Inside, the home had a billiards room, wood-paneled library, dining room, grand ballroom, and the Pompeian room where De Lamar had his art gallery. He commissioned Louis Comfort Tiffany to create beautiful stained glass panels and equipped the mansion with technology like Otis elevators and an electric hoist that would lower his car into a subterranean garage. Other unique features include a gymnasium and a dog-run hidden below the mansard roof. Today the mansion is home to the Consulate General of Poland.