Wyndcliffe Mansion is a historic mansion ruin in Dutchess County, New York, close to Rhinebeck. According to the Library of Congress’s records, the brick palace was first known as Rhinecliff and was built in the Norman style in 1853.
There are several impressive ruins in the Hudson River Valley, but few have the same eerie allure as Rhinebeck’s Wyndclyffe Mansion. The ideal time to see them is in late October when fall breezes send yellow leaves eddying over the hills and hollows of the old estate. Its beetle-browed facade is gifted with that fascinating combination of gloom, decoration, and extreme old age that only the best haunted mansions claim. This “haunted mansion” appears to be devoid of everything save a good ghost story.
History of Wyndcliffe Mansion
Wyndclyffe’s history is devoid of any involvement with murder, mayhem, or the paranormal, but it is nonetheless interesting enough on its own. The manor was built in 1853 as the personal residence of Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones, a prominent representative of a remarkably affluent New York family.
Even while opulent Hudson Valley estates were already popular among New York City’s elite, Wyndclyffe’s splendor inspired the local nobility to invest even more money in their holiday properties to avoid being eclipsed by Elizabeth’s Rhinebeck mansion. The phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” is supposed to have its roots in this mansion and the construction frenzy it prompted.
Here are some secrets about Wyndcliffe Mansion
Wyndclyffe’s underground pipes brought supplies to the tennis court.
Although the tennis courts were previously connected to the mansion via underground pipes, they are now gone and submerged beneath years of overgrowth. After Elizabeth Jones passed away, Andrew Finck bought the house and put in pipes that brought alcohol to the musicians.
This unique piping system, which was put in place after Finck bought the estate in 1886, was a tribute to the splendor of the building. Although modern civilization allows for the installation of pipes from one room to another in opulent homes, the technology was innovative in the late 19th century.
Wyndcliffe Mansion has a three-story atrium as its central feature.
Wyndcliffe Mansion and the first Protestant Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Rhinebeck, New York, were both designed by George Veitch. The mansion is built in the Norman style, which is distinguished by a division of space and tall arches. Arched windows and a three-story atrium in the mansion serve as visual cues to this.
The atrium allegedly had Tiffany stained-glass on the ceiling, but it has been long since gone. The atrium is open to the elements because a large portion of the mansion’s roof has collapsed. All that is left of the splendour is the mossy ground of the atrium, which is littered with broken objects.
Andrew Finck renamed the property “Linden Grove”
Although Jones’ family referred to the house as “Rhinecliffe” and nicknamed it Wyndcliffe Mansion at first, new nicknames emerged during the Finck era. Jones sold the house to Andrew Finck for $25,000, but family members eventually exchanged dollars for the property.
As they got to know the mansion, the Finck family referred to it as “Linden Grove.” There are still a lot of linden trees all around the property. Finck Castle was the family’s endearing nickname for the house up until Anna Wolf Finck Rice sold it. Wyndcliffe Mansion had no more owners for a significant amount of time after the Finck owning dynasty.
The mansion was abandoned in the 1950s and fell into decay.
Few owners could afford to possess such an opulent home during the Great Depression. The Wyndcliffe Mansion was left to Anna Wolf Finck Rice by Theodore Finck after he passed away there. After Rice left in 1936, the ownership of the property changed a few more times before it was abandoned in the 1950s.
The building held up until the 1980s and was in good condition. The collapse of the eastern turret in 1998 signaled Wyndcliffe Mansion’s demise. The eastern wing and a piece of the second storey have now completely collapsed.
The mansion’s floors are exposed to the elements because just a piece of the roof is still present. Most of the collapsed turrets and columns are covered in moss and vegetation. Visitors may only see the very tip of the property as it protrudes from a dense forest as they approach it.
Jones’ ghost is rumored to haunt the place.
Creaks and objects falling remind tourists of the rumored ghost of Jones as they make their way through the unstable remains. Although there is no proof that Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones’ ghost still resides on the property, others claim that her ghost keeps people from fixing it.
Before leaving the mansion to his daughter, Theodore Finck passed away on the property. Wyncliffe Mansion’s foreboding appearance and eerie breezes that seem to carry the cries of those who have died there are featured in Wharton’s work. Nevertheless, many people take the risk of traveling to Rhinbeck, New York to visit the reputedly haunted house.
Common facts to know about Wyndcliffe Mansion
For following owners, Wyndcliffe was referred to as Linden Hall or Finck Castle. Around 1950, the home was abandoned. The land subsequently shrunk from its original 80 acres, which had waterfront access to the Hudson River, to just 2.5 acres. The mansion has been abandoned for many years, and parts of it have collapsed. The home was bought in 2003. The mansion’s owner wants to repair it. As of 2012, the building was still deteriorating.
Since Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones was never married and her successors suffered from the Great Depression following her passing, the home was permanently abandoned about 70 years ago. The once-grand home that served as the inspiration for a generation of real estate moguls was only $120,000 when it was sold at auction in 2016, but it is now in such bad shape that it will probably be torn down.
Until then, the vistas of the Hudson River are permanently blocked by the overgrown forest, leaving it desolate like a modern-day Manderley.
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