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Rough Economy Has Tarrytown’s Lyndhurst Mansion Facing Financial Shortfall

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(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

johnslattery John Slattery
John Slattery is an Emmy Award-winning general assignment reporter for...
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TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBS 2) — The ailing economy is striking not only employment and business, but also tourism and support for national historic sites.

One of the lesser known architectural treasures overlooks the Hudson River, 25 miles north of Midtown.

It is a relic of the Gilded Age that sits on 67 acres, with views of the Hudson. It’s Lyndhurst, a Gothic Revival gem built in 1838 for former New York City Mayor William Paulding, but later became the home of financial tycoon and robber baron, Jay Gould.

“It is perhaps the finest example of American Gothic architecture in the United States,” Cindi Malinick, of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, told CBS 2′s John Slattery.

It’s been used in movies including the 1970 film, “House of Dark Shadows,” based on a soap opera from the ’60s. But now Lyndhurst is experiencing scary times of its own.

While beautiful from a distance, the exterior does not bear close inspection. For example, there are cracks in the stones and decorative wooden elements are rotting in places and there’s extensive peeling of paint.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which owns the property, and just cut half its staff, said what it needs is the generosity of wealthy donors.

“That’s probably what we need — we do need an infusion of capital,” Malinick said.

The property, with original furnishings, including exquisite stained glass, finds that ticket sales and private events, are just not enough.

“We have to find a way to connect with people just the way they somehow connect with a water slide or Disneyland,” Malinick said.

For now, symbols of past wealth are falling on hard times, reflecting an economy that is also hoping for a revival.

The National Trust, which operates 29 properties, said Lyndhurst’s annual operating cost of $1.5 million a year is facing a shortfall of several hundred thousand dollars.

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