Winfield: Living in the Shadow of the Woolworths

ISBN 10: 0312309821 / ISBN 13: 9780312309824
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Synopsis: Monica Randall grew up on the Gold Coast of Long Island and was fascinated by the massive estates and their tantalizing stories. Millionaire F. W. Woolworth built Winfield, the grandest of its manors in the 1910s. On a clear day, you can see the New York City skyline from its balustraded roof, yet for nearly a century few have been allowed to enter its gates.

In the 1960s Monica was living in one of the fabled mansions built by a Five-and-Dime heiress. While there, she began a career scouting locations for movie; she used many of the surrounding estates including Winfield. After a brief incarnation as a charm school, Winfield was closed and auctioned off. At the auction, Monica met a mysterious European businessman, who bought the house. After a whirlwind romance, they became engaged, and Monica moved in to Winfield, only to have her suspicions confirmed: Winfield is haunted. Amid magnificent gilded carvings and marble, a labyrinth of secret passageways, hidden chambers, and deserted tunnels help reveal the true nature of its eccentric builder.

Through exhaustive research and countless interviews, Monica gradually uncovered stories of the Woolworths’ sad past: the suicide of Edna Woolworth (Barbara Hutton’s mother), Woolworth’s obsession with Napoleon and the Egyptian occult, and the rumors surrounding the unsolved fire which burnt the first Winfield to the ground. This riveting memoir explores the culture and history of an era gone by, filled with enthralling stories of infamous scandals and breathtaking Gilded Age tales of New York society. Captivating and impossible to put down, this book will enchant readers everywhere.

Throughout the last fifty years the Gold Coast mansions were regularly razed for subdevelopments; Winfield is the last of the marble palaces still standing.

From the Back Cover: Praise for Monica Randall

"I know from personal experience that no one knows the social history of the North Shore of Long Island, the aptly named Gold Coast, as well as Monica Randall does. Her book Winfield is a haunting and fascinating tale." --Dominick Dunne on Winfield

"F. W. Woolworth's ornate and ominous Long Island mansion is the central character in this disquieting memoir, and the shadows it casts across Monica Randall's life linger disturbingly. This is a creepy and unsettling ghost story." --J. P. Morrissey, author of A Weekend at Blenheim, on Winfield

"Winfield is a lovingly created treasure trove, memorably stocked with the images, riches, adornments, and architectural wonders of the once-opulent Gold Coast. Monica Randall, in poetic prose, has captured the essence and the excess of the age of F. Scott Fitzgerald and F. W. Woolworth with their oft tragic overtones." --David D. Reed, author of The President's Weekend, on Winfield

"Her engaging text re-creates the glamorous era.... Readers will be beguiled by photos of sumptuously decorated rooms and lavish formal gardens.... The book is a rich evocation of a vanished time and lifestyle." --Publishers Weekly on The Mansions of Long Island's Gold Coast

"In spooky, sepia photographs and melodramatic text, Monica Randall captures her adventures roaming decrepit castles and foreboding Italianate abodes." --The New York Post on Phantoms of the Hudson Valley
"Evocative." --The New York Times Book Review on Phantoms of the Hudson Valley

"Brilliant.... extraordinary sepia-toned pictures and romantic words evocative of another time.... A definitive---and unique---record of a long-forgotten era that is well worth remembering." --Nancy Ruhlings in Victorian Homes on Phantoms of the Hudson Valley

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