The Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society Proudly Presents a Walking Tour of the Douglaston Historic District
Saturday, October, 13, 2012
Conducted by Kevin Wolf, AIA
1. The Douglaston Club, 600 West Drive (1819)
The sweeping lawn of the Van Zandt mansion contains some ancient specimen trees planted by the Parsons Nursery and George Douglas during the mid-nineteenth century. The house, a boxy Greek revival style building with a servants' wing attached on the back, was originally the summer house to New York merchant and alderman Wynant Van Zandt and his fifteen children. The third-story ballroom replaced a cupolo destroyed by fire in 1921. Today this private clubhouse is the focus of the neighborhood, with tennis courts, dining rooms, a bowling alley, and swimming pool.
2. 111 Hollywood Avenue (1914)
A Gustav Stickley Arts & Crafts house built at the time for an attorney.
3. 29 Center Drive (1848)
A Greek Revival Italianate mansion complete with third-story cupola to scan the Bay. This house is characterized by its wide porches front and back, grand entryways with transoms, tall shuttered windows, and a beautiful garden.
4. 101 Forest Road (1920)
This is a pink clapboard house, inspired by the historic Lefferts Farmhouse in Brooklyn, which it mimics closely.
5. 14 Ardsley Road (1919)
A French Renaissance Revival building attributed to McKim, Mead & White and built for a college professor, it includes a kitchen and dining area on the very low-ceilinged first floor, and living room above, like a typical New York City townhouse.
6. 126 West Drive (1735)
This is the perfectly preserved Van Wyck farmhouse. The main two-story facade faces the Bay, acknowledging the dominance of water traffic at the time the house was built. Myth links it as a piece in the chain of hideaways for slaves traveling on the Underground Railroad.
7. 28 Shore Road (1909)
A throwback to the more typically "Victorian" era homes that preceded the styles that typify the Manor. this Colonial Revival home has the open porch, corner tower, and the wonderful carriage house in back all, of which take advantage of the position of the house on the Bay.
8. 207 Shore Road (1919)
Here is a typical example of the Arts & Crafts style – rough stucco walls, pergola, terrace and sun porch to view the Bay and connect to the garden, and with a modest face to the street that says the whole, that is, the neighborhood, is more important than the individual.
9. 304 Shore Road (1922)
A handsome brick Georgian home designed by architect Frank Forster, the site recently lost the twin beech trees on the front lawn. They were brought to the site as full-grown specimens when the house was built.
10. 412 Shore Road, The Douglaston Dock
This was the original boating and swimming pier built for the Douglas estate, and rebuilt many times since.
11. 231 Beverly Road (1922)
This diminuitive pavilion was designed by Diego DeSuarez, the architect of the famous gardens at Vizcaya, the Spanish-style Miami mansion built by tractor millionaire Henry Deering. De Suarez was commissioned to design 231 by a single woman, Lillian A. Kendrick; the cement-block house looks as though it would be at home as part of the gardens of Vizcaya,
12. 122 Grosvenor Street (ca. 1910)
An unusual Arts & Crafts stucco style house with outsized details like the oval windows bracketing the front door, and the arched leaded glass windows of the eastern sun porch.
13. 303 Knollwood Avenue (1926)
A Mediterranean Revival house, with an unusually beautiful Medieval-style front door, surrounded by elegant wrought iron work, by architect William F. McCulloch. The front façade is accented by small turquoise tiles and leaded glass windows, designed especially for the original owner -- another single woman -- with an amazing name: Miss Edythe L. DePlezieux-Falcounet. The Tour continues north on West Drive to Bayview Avenue. Here a circle of hedges marks the original carriage turn-about for the pleasure road of the Douglas estate, which culminated at "The Point." At the Point is Little Neck Bay, the beginning of Long Island Sound. To the west, the heavily vegetated peninsula is Fort Totten, a deactivated Army base that, in tandem with Fort Schuyler in the Bronx, once protected the mouth of the East River. Here the Throgs Neck Bridge connects Queens to the Bronx. To the east beyond Great Neck, Kings Point and the Merchant Marine Academy are visible, and in the far distance, Stepping Stone Lighthouse. Also immediately flanking the east side of the Manor is Udalls Cove, a 100-acre tidal wetland and cove that attracts thousands of shore birds during fall migrations and through parts of the winter.
14. 1114 Shore Road (1907)
Built by stage star William Collier and designed by John Sarsfield Kennedy, this house stands out for the unusual cedar shingle roof The wood shingles were steamed and bent to imitate thatch, emulating the informal English houses they were based on. This particularly beautiful Arts & Crafts style house has two huge ogee-shaped stained glass windows – morning glories decorate the eastern one – that orient the house to the views of the Bay. A glassed-in porch runs across the front of the house, and an inviting, wisteria-covered pergola is positioned to catch the Bay breezes in summer.
15. 1102 Shore Road (1916)
A more subdued version of the roof at 1114 Shore is seen, with a pebble dash exterior, alson in the Arts & Crafts style.
16. 1008 Shore Road (1917)
Designed by the architectural firm of Buchman & Fox, for Herbert Bachman, the owner of a New York department store. Buchman & Fox designed many large department stores in Manhattan's Ladies Mile Historic District.
17. 4 Kenmore Road (1909)
This is the home of Tom and Alice Fucigna who have graciously offered their front porch as the final stop on the walking tour. There will be refreshments here, and also some of the story about reconstruction done following the straight-line storm of 2010 that resulted in great damage to homes and the tree canopy of our community. Kevin Wolfe, thanks you for your interest, and the Historical Society wishes you fond memories of your walk through out neighborhood in celebration of the fifteenth anniversary for designation of the Douglaston Historic District in 1997.