The Long Island gold coast is dotted with many estates and ruins from the Gatsby era. One area of Glen Cove boasts of many estates from one single family. Charles Pratt started a kerosene refinery in Brooklyn, which later became part of Standard Oil. He also founded Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, an art college still in existence.
Charles Pratt bought land in Glen Cove that many of his children built their seasonal estates on. The area was known as Dosoris. The name Dosoris comes from the 18th century estate of Reverend Benjamin Woodley, who received the land as a dowry upon marrying Abigail Taylor. "Dos uxoris" in Lain is a wife's dowry, hence the name Dosoris. The Pratt's Dosoris featured central greenhouses, a cow barn, and administration offices for all the estates. Remarkably, many of the estates are still around today serving one use or another.
Housed on the former estate of Herbert L. Pratt is the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture. When it was still a Pratt estate it was known as the Braes. The exterior of the Jacobean-style mansion was used as Wayne Manor in Batman Returns (1995).
The rear of the mansion consists of terraced gardens leading to the Long Island Sound. Herbert Pratt passed away in 1945, and in 1947 the Webb institute moved in. There is a tunnel connecting the mansion to a laundry room used by the students. The tunnel is said to have originated to conceal the various deliveries into the estate.
The Dosoris mansion of Harold Irving Pratt was called Welwyn. Today, the grounds are a preserve, and the mansion a Holocaust museum. The Welwyn Preserve is sprinkled with ruins of the former estate. Behind the mansion are a log cabin, stables, boiler room, and an old wooden fence that used to surround the outdoor tennis court. Taking a cobblestone path from there leads to the greenhouse complex and vineyards, all in ruin. On the Long Island Sound is the estate's pier.
The abandoned indoor tennis court sits by the front entrance to the preserve. It was once a glass roofed court, but today the rood is shattered. The front of the tennis court is a brick dwelling, where currently someone resides.
Killenworth was built for George Dupont Pratt around 1912. It replaced his former mansion. George served as assistant to the president of the Long Island Railroad, and helped organize the Boy Scouts of America. The Elizabethan manor house now serves as a recreation and weekend facility of the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. The property is surrounded by barbed wire, making it very foreboding. Soviet Premier Khrushchev once stayed at the estate. During the 1980s, Glen Cove officials accused the Soviets of using the estate as a base to spy on Long Island's vast defense industry. One November day, someone fired twelve shots into the 49 room mansion. Two days later, a National Guard helicopter flew over the mansion, putting the Russians on alert. The National Guard claimed the chopper was flying low because of intense cloud cover. Even with the cold war over the estate still gives off a cloak and dagger vibe.
Poplar Hill was the summer estate of Fredrick Pratt. It sits adjacent to the Killingworth Estate. This was the only Dosoris mansion built with vintage interiors, such as the gothic linenfold paneling and gilt Venetian ceiling. The 21 room mansion also contained oak parquet and marble floors, unique lighting fixtures, marble fireplaces, and walk in silver and wine safes. The house is a fireproof construction of steel and concrete, with a slate roof. I didn't venture inside, but I wonder if any of the original construction can still be seen.
The Manor, as it was called, was the summer home of John Steele Pratt. Most of its construction was completed by 1911. Today, the house is used as a retreat for corporate executives. The interior appears heavily modified, but the exterior, from the front, looks much the way it originally did, but the back of the mansion has been added onto.
Behind a typical, modern, suburban home sits a brick tower that appears out of place. This was once the clock tower of an employee administration building at the Pratt Oval. The Pratt Oval was the central garage, cow barn, and greenhouse, for the Dosoris estates of the Pratt family.