7. James Cunningham Estate, Irvington

The lost Hudson Valley mansion of James Cunningham
Image via NYPL

The stone mansion of Scottish-born steamboat magnate James Cunningham sat on eight acres of land in the town of Irvington, in close proximity to the grand estates of many other wealthy men of industry. The 18-room mansion you see in the image above featured in Villas on The Hudson: A Collection of Photo-Lithographs of Thirty-One Country Residences which was published in 1860, was actually the smaller of Cunningham’s two Irvington mansions, according to a report on the book. The New York Times described the mansion: “As seen from the river it presented a pleasing and dignified picture, standing well atop. a steep hillside, surrounded by broad lawns and long terraces, and flanked by spacious greenhouses and substantial barns.”

Cunningham’s large collection of art necessitated him to have two mansions instead of just one. Much of Cuningham’s collection was later donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He planned on retiring in the larger of the two homes but died while in residence in the smaller one. The mansion was passed on to his daughter Mary and her husband Herber R. Bishop. In 1878, the home and many priceless paintings inside were destroyed by a fire. Bishop was renovating the home at the time and had not yet had the chance to move in.