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Living like Gatsby

elisa & otto

OHEKA Castle on the Gold Coast of Long Island, N.Y., was once the weekend retreat and summer home of Otto Kahn. The Gold Coast was where many of America’s wealthiest families had homes in the 1920s. It’s also where most of the characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, “The Great Gatsby,” resided and it is said that OHEKA was one of the inspirations for Jay Gatsby’s mansion.

Born in 1867, Otto Hermann Kahn, was one of the most celebrated financiers in American banking before his death in 1934. A true renaissance man, he was an investment banker, collector, philanthropist, patron of the arts and golfer.

Completed in 1919, OHEKA still is the second-largest private home in the United States. The 109,000-square-foot mansion contains 127 rooms, all set on 443 acres. It’s twice the size of the White House. Built during the Roaring 20s, it reflected the excess and opulence of the times.

Kahn also built an 18-hole, par-71, Seth Raynor-designed golf course on his property. It was used exclusively by Kahn and his guests. OHEKA’s overnight visitors included such luminaries as Enrico Caruso, George Gershwin, JP Morgan, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, to name just a few.

Charlie Chaplin Posing with Screen Affiliates
Fairbanks, Kahn & Chaplin

The property has gone through a number of changes over the years. It’s now a beautiful 32-room hotel, and the golf course that was originally Kahn’s private domain is now called Cold Spring Country Club. Gary Melius took over the estate in 1984 and began a massive project that continues to this day to return the spectacular estate to its original glory.

More than likely you have seen images of OHEKA, as the mansion and gardens were featured in the movie “Citizen Kane” in aerial views of Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu.

Even if just for a few days, guests can enjoy the full Gatsby experience while staying at this spectacular hotel. All guests have privileges to play the private Cold Spring Country Club course while staying at the property, which is just 32 miles – about a 45-minute drive – from Manhattan.

According to author Nelson DeMille, “Otto Kahn and Gary Melius are the bookends of this story – men of boldness, vision and optimism in America. This is the story of their house and the century that separated them in time, but brought them together in spirit.”
oheka brown
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