Great River in Suffolk County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Neighbor Across the Way
Across the river from Bayard Cutting Arboretum stands the large red-brick and gray-stone structure that was part of William Kissam Vanderbilt's estate. W. K. Vanderbilt's "Idle Hour," a 110-room, English-style mansion, was designed by Richard Howland Hunt. Completed in 1901, it replaced an earlier manor destroyed by fire.
W. K. Vanderbilt was the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, a railroad magnate, and the son of William H. Vanderbilt, who, in 1881, was said to be the richest man in America. W. K. was a member of the South Side Sportsmen's Club, as was Bayard Cutting. There was good-natured competition between these wealthy men.
Harold S. Vanderbilt inherited the estate after his father W. K.'s death in 1920. The estate was put up for sale, and three years later, Edmund C. Burke developed a large portion of the land. The mansion changed hands many times until 1963, when Adelphi Suffolk College purchased it and changed its name to Dowling College.
Paddle-wheel Steamer, Mosquito
The Vanderbilt family enjoyed many hours fishing and boating on their 78-foot, paddlewheel steamer. The Mosquito was built in 1890 and moored in the Connetquot River. In the early 1920s it was sold to the Sayville Steamboat Company and used as a Sayville to Point-of-Woods ferry.
The early presence of large estates has protected much of the Connetquot River and its shores from dense development. W. L Breese, W. Bayard Cutting, W. K. Vanderbilt, and C. R. Robert owned large tracts of land along this picturesque river. At the headwaters of the river was the South Side Sportsmen's Club. The families who owned these great estates are gone, but their legacies still provide protection for the river. Today, the Connetquot River remains one of Long Island's cleanest rivers.
The stretch of river between the Vanderbilt and Cutting estates was called “The Bass Hole." It was known for excellent fishing. This photograph of two unknown fishermen dates to ca. 1910. The W. K. Vanderbilt mansion Idle Hour is visible across the river.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & Settlers • Sports • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 40° 44.503′ N, 73° 9.383′ W. Marker is in Great River, New York, in Suffolk County. Marker can be reached from Ruland Road south of Montauk Highway (New York State Route 27A) when traveling south. Marker is located inside Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park, along the Connetquat River Trail on the east side of the park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 440 Montauk Highway, Great River NY 11739, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Locust Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Connetquot River (about 400 feet away); Spike Tooth HarrowOliver Farm Plow (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hay Rake (approx. 0.2 miles away); Manure Spreader (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sickle Bar Mower (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Country Home (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Great River.
More about this marker. The marker overlooks the Connetquat River and Dowling College on the opposite side.
Also see . . . Oakdale.
Oakdale originated from a tavern owned by Liff Snedecor in what is now Connetquot River State Park Preserve. Soon after its founding in 1820, Snedecor's Tavern began drawing New York bluebloods and business barons. In 1866, as the railroad reached the area, Liff's wealthy patrons formed the Southside Sportsmen's Club, and soon the race was on to see who could create the most superb spread in the thick forests adjoining Great South Bay. The most prominent were William K. Vanderbilt, grandson of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt; Frederick G. Bourne, president of the Singer Sewing Machine Co., and Christopher Robert II, an eccentric heir to a sugar fortune. Meanwhile, William Bayard Cutting, a lawyer, financier and railroad man, built his estate next door in Great River, which had once been west Oakdale. (Submitted on March 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 9, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 158 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.