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Paulding’s Folly

By Linda Tancs

New York City mayor William Paulding constructed a Gothic Revival mansion in the 1800s overlooking the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York. Unusual in the post-Colonial era, it sported fanciful turrets and an asymmetrical design that earned it the moniker “Paulding’s Folly.” Its second owner, merchant George Merritt, doubled down you might say by adding to the fanciful Gothic structure and naming it Lyndenhurst after the abundance of Linden trees on the property. Railroad tycoon Jay Gould was the third owner of the estate who, like other wealthy patrons of his day commissioning the construction of mansions along the bluffs of the river from New York City to Albany, used the property as a country retreat. Known today as Lyndhurst, the art, furnishings and antiques remain intact and reflect the character of its three owners, and its grounds survive as an outstanding example of 19th century landscape design.

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