Caumsett Historic State Park Preserve

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Lloyd Harbor, NY
United States
Caumsett Historic State Park Preserve

These more than 2,000 acres of abandoned farmland and woodlands were transformed into an extensive self-sufficient country place for Marshall Field III beginning in 1921. Field sought to emulate the pastoral character of English country estates on Long Island’s North Shore, with the additional scenic advantages of shoreline views. Naming his estate “Caumsett,” Matinecock for “place by sharp rock,” Field chose John Russell Pope to develop the spatial layout and design a Georgian manor house and ancillary buildings, with Alfred Hopkins designing the vernacular farm buildings. From the vast wooded acreage, which included a salt marsh, Pope organized major designed areas: the farm complex at the beginning of the winding approach road, the stable and pastures merging into expansive rolling lawns edged by native woodlands, tennis courts, a forest glade, and the Winter Cottage, with its Marian Coffin landscape. The mansion, with service courts, garden rooms, and sizable forecourt, overlooked a terrace and lawns sloping to a large freshwater pond, beyond which lay the beach.

Pope turned to Percival Gallagher of the Olmsted Brothers to anchor and embellish the mansion’s surrounds. Beginning in 1925, Gallagher strengthened the axial vistas to and from both sides of the house by planting the forecourt and northern terrace edges with massive specimen trees. To the west, Gallagher designed a circular box garden with broad steps leading to a hedge-enclosed oblong flower garden, terminated by a pair of purple beeches. He transformed a natural ravine into a picturesque rocker, adding a path to the pond edged by flowering shrubs. Overseeing the landscape was English gardener George Gillies, who remained at the property until 1961 when it was purchased by New York State.
 
No longer functioning as an estate, the grounds are managed as a nature preserve. Many of the buildings now house educational and environmental programs, including the Lloyd Harbor Historical Society, which occupies the original eighteenth century Henry Lloyd Manor House. Caumsett was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.