||The Landed Gentry|
A district of country estates transplanted from England, the Somerset Hills in northern New Jersey have long been a home of America's landed gentry. Architect George Post, who designed the New York Stock Exchange, also drew the plans for many of the area's rambling Tudor, Georgian and Colonial mansions.
Natirar (Raritan backwards), to the left, built by Walter Ladd and Kate Macy in 1912, was sold to King Hassan II of Morocco in 1983. Somerset County bought it in 2003 and is leasing the house to Sir Richard Branson for a spa.
See Landed Gentry Article.
Google map | Zoom Out | Liberty Corner
More recent homeowners:
|Map||Estate ||Owner/ |
|CG||Queen Ann Farm |
|Cross ||Built by John Bensel, purchased by Williamj Redmond Cross, banker and president of the New York Zological Society, in 1929. See Cross Estate Gardens
|1|| ||John Jacob Astor ||American Tobacco Company founder.
Bought in 1950 from Samuel Owen who built it in 1913.
Today is Bernards Township Municipal Bldg.
|2||Stronghold ||John Dryden ||Founder of the Prudential Insurance Company.
In 1950 he bought the house built in 1913 by Samuel Owen.
Today is the Gill - St. Bernards School
|3||Yademos ||Charles Pfizer ||pharmaceuticals fortune.
Purchased stone mansion built for Robert Seney in 1881. Madame Butterfly, staring Mary Pickford, was filmed in his Japenese garden in 1915.
|4||The Maples ||Francis G. Lloyd ||The original house was built in 1796-97 by Francis Peppard, Jr., a Presbyterian preacher. George Seney, President of the Metropolitan Bank of New York, and founder of the Somerset Inn, purchased it in 1863. He is credited with giving the area refered to as "Bankers Mountain" it's start. Francis G. Lloyd, president of Brooks Brothers, and famous Scottish Terrier breeder, purchased it following Swney's death in 1983 and built a new Georgian style home he named the Maples.
See: A Bit of Earth: Preserving Childhood, History, and a Sense of Place, by Gordon Ward.
|5||Kenilwood ||George and William Post ||This Gothic Revival mansion was built in 1896 by father and son architects George and William Post, as a wedding gift for daughter Harriet.
Bought by Heavyweight Champion "Iron" Mike Tyaon during his marriage to actress Robin Givens.
|6||Blairsden ||C. Ledyard Blair ||Built between 1898 and 1903 by Blair, an investment banking mogul who made his fortune on the Erie-Lackawana Railroad. Blairstown in N. Calif. named after him.
|Walter G. Ladd |
|Philanthropists - Built in 1912 on 456 acres
King Hassan II of Morocco bought it in 1983
The Somerset County Improvement Authority purchased the property from the Hassan estate for $22 Million. They have built a 2 mile loop trail there, open to the public.
Sir Richard Branson (Virgin conglomerate) leased the house and 80 acres in 2003. He is building a resort and spa, with the mansion converted for guest rooms.
|8||Hamilton Farms ||James Brady ||Wall Street financier.
In 1921 he built a 64-room Georgian brick mansion with 11 fireplaces, 2 elevators and a chapel.
Bought by Beneficial Corp. (Now home of the U.S. Equestrian Team)
|9||Timberfield ||Malcom S. Forbes ||Publisher of Forbes magazine started by his father in 1917. Elizabeth Taylor was a frequent guest.
|10||Dunwalke Farm ||Dillon Family ||In 1928, Clarence Dillon built his Georgian mansion with bricks from Hatfield Manor in Virginia. After his death in 1979, the house and 126 acres were given to Princeton Univ. for a conference center and retreat. His son, daughter and grandson live on the remaining land.
Clarence Dillon took over Read & Co and named it Dillon Read. He purchased Dodge for $146 million in cash, outbidding J.P. Morgan & Co.. He also created National Cash Register (NCR).
|11||Moorland Farm ||Grant Schley ||Originally called Froheim, it was 3500 acres with a liv-in staff of 36 servants. Two movies were filmend here during the 1920s.
Bought by AT&T in the 1980's. Home of the Far Hills Race Meeting steeplechase and Midland Run
|12||Lamington House ||John Delorian ||GM VP who started the DeLorean Motor Company. When he bought the 435 acre Lamington House estate in 1981, the $3.5 million was the highest ever paid for a property in the area.
|13||River Run Farm / Shale House ||John L. McGraw ||Founder of McGraw-Hill Publishing.
|Other Somerset county estates
| ||Duke Farms ||James Buchanan Duke ||A 2,700-acre estate in Hillsborough, New Jersey, was developed by tobacco and hydropower magnate James Buchanan Duke beginning in 1893. When he died in 1925, his daughter Doris was 12 years old. She inherited control of the estate, and continued to enhance the property when she became an adult.
| ||Daniel Robert House ||Daniel Robert ||Robert was a wealthy New Yorker from an
old, well-established Huguenot family. He had inherited substantial real estate holdings in the city. His wife convinced him to move to New Jersey in 1886.
He bought the former Cammann Castle in Somerville, built by Albert Cammann, who was engaged in copper mining in the Watchung Hills. In 1888, Robert razed the castle and proceeded with the construction of what was fully intended to be 'The
handsomest house in the county.'
The house is now occupied by Borough Hall and a Library
Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Cyrus Vance (Sec. of State), Nicholas Brady (Sec. of treasury), Millicent Fenwick (Congresswoman - Gary Trudeau modeled his Doonesbury cartoon character Lacey Davenport after her), C Douglas Dillion (Sec of Treasury), William Simon (Sec. of Treasury), Harrison Williams (US Senator), Christine Todd Whitman (Govenor, EPA Administrator), Meryl Streep, Mike Tyson & Robbin Givens, Whitney Houston, Bill Moyers, Charles and Joan Sunderland Scribner Jr. (She is a descendant of Cornelius Vanderbuilt), Robert Wood Johnson IV (grandson of Johnson & Johnson founder).
Members of The Forbes Four Hundred Richest in America in and around Far Hills include heiress Jacqueline Badger Mars, money manager Michael F. Price and media executive Donald Edward Newhouse.
See: Landed Gentry Page here.
Source: "The Map; Somerset Hills Landed Gentry", copyright 1992, Ross, Pruett & MacGregor, Inc.
Weather at The Weather Channel.
Bernards Township | Basking Ridge at: American Town Network
Bernards Township Library - (908) 204-3031
Bernardsville Public Library - (908) 766-0118
Clarence Dillion Library, Bedminster 908-234-2325
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last updated 1 Jun 2006