13. Kykuit

Kykuit estate with landscaping by Frederick Law Olmsted

Built in 1913 and situated in Pocantico Hills, New York, Kykuit has been the home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. The estate, located behind massive gates, is a 40-room historic house museum built for oil tycoon and Rockefeller family patriarch John D. Rockefeller. “Kykuit” means “lookout” in Dutch since it is situated on the highest point in the Westchester hamlet.

Initially, the landscaping of the grounds was the responsibility of Olmsted’s firm. Unlike most of Olmsted’s other successful projects, though, Rockefeller was unhappy with this work and assumed control of the design himself. Instead of Olmsted’s design, Rockefeller designed lookouts and scenic winding roads. Eventually, William Welles Bosworth designed the terraces and gardens with fountains and classical sculptures. Ultimately, Olmsted played a very minor role in the design of the home, but his legacy still lives on behind the ornate gates.