Samuel Untermyer and his Persian Gardens

The magnificent North Broadway Mansion "Greystone" and Persian Gardens of  Samuel Untermyer.


"Greystone" as photographed in 1901.


Samuel Untermyer (1858-1940)


Untermyer's very large Estate is shown on the map of 1907 above in Pink. This was what his holdings looked like before he built his walled Persian Gardens in 1919. You will note chicken coops, dog kennels, greenhouses and even a lake. Click the map to enlarge it.

Samuel Untermyer was born in 1858 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He was the son of two German immigrants. Samuel Untermyer was a New York lawyer who began practicing law at 18 and was admitted to the bar in New York in 1879. 

Untermyer established himself as a corporation attorney and became known for corporate mergers and arranging financing for industries and real estate developments. His most famous merger was with Utah Copper Co. and the Nevada Consolidated Companies which created Bethlehem Steel.

Untermyer purchased Greystone in 1899 at an auction of the estate of Samuel J. Tilden.

The first owner of Greystone was John Waring, a hat manufacturer, from Yonkers, New York. The house was named Greystone for the grey granite that was quarried nearby and used to construct the house. John Davis Hatch designed the residence.

Samuel J. Tilden, a lawyer and former governor of New York (1874-1876) and unsuccessful Presidential candidate against Rutherford B. Hayes (1876) bought Greystone for a summer residence in 1879. Tilden constructed a large greenhouse complex including a Lord and Burnham greenhouse.

Tilden died in 1886 leaving the bulk of his estate to what was later to become the New York Public Library. His two nephews contested the will, and it took ten years to resolve the estate.

Untermyer owned Greystone from 1899-1940. Untermyer hired the architect Joseph H. Freelander to remodel the mansion. The estate was 150 acres and was famous for its Beaux-Arts gardens designed by William Welles Bosworth. Bosworth's gardens included the Greek Garden; a long staircase, known as the Vista, with a Hudson River view; a rock garden with an overlook called the Eagle's Nest; and an Italian-style vegetable garden constructed as five large terraces.

After Untermyer's death in 1940, the estate was divided and sixteen acres donated to the city of Yonkers as "Samuel Untermyer Park and Gardens."
His plan had been to donate the whole 150 acre estate to the Nation, or the State of New York, or to the City of Yonkers. Eventually the city of Yonkers agreed to accept part of the estate gardens; this parcel of land was renamed Untermyer Park in his honor. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.



Garden Photos sourced from the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy website.

To Visit the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy's beautiful website CLICK HERE.

Also view the video of the 2013 "Summer Solstice Soiree".


CLICK TO SEE THE VIDEO (It may take a few minutes to load!) Learn about the tremendous efforts to restore this National Treasure!