Written by Marc Katz Friday, 10 May 2013 00:00
Another Great Neck house has been recognized by the Great Neck Historical Society’s Heritage Recognition Program, which honors notable buildings in the Great Neck area. The house, at 50 Pond Road, has a long and fascinating history.
The home was built in 1909, a date inscribed in the cornerstone, for E.M. Scott, who has been described as “one of the most successful manufacturers in the world.” At that time, the property was 62 acres, with close to 2,000 feet of frontage on the Long Island Sound. The same numbers were recorded by North Hempstead in 1925. A 1932 map describes the property as 16 acres, a 1947 map as nine acres, and today, it is less than two acres.
The property was purchased in 1925 by financier industrialist and philanthropist August Heckscher. He had a summer home in Huntington, where he was a generous benefactor, but moved to Great Neck to be closer to New York City. He named his estate Feu Follet, and while living there, swam nearly every morning in Long Island Sound. Heckscher was a real estate operator and mine executive. In Huntington he funded both the Heckscher Museum of Art and Heckscher State Park; in New York City he created Heckscher Playground in Central Park. He also established the Heckscher Foundation for Children and worked to eliminate slums in New York City.
Mae Van Brunt Howes owned the house in 1950. In 1977 Barbara and Herbert Haar, president of the Fairmoor Coat and Suit Company, sold it to the present owners, Dr. Edward and Mahboubeh Soufer.
The property now has 350 feet of shoreline, with trees shading the elegant home, swimming pool, pool cabana and detached two-car garage. The dock was destroyed in a storm. The house is constructed of granite block, with walls close to three feet thick and ceilings a minimum of 12 feet high. Inside, the architect created a grand reception hall with a beamed ceiling, columns and a large entry fireplace. The oak-paneled dining room also has a beamed ceiling, built-in cupboards, and tooled leather paneling. Still clearly visible in the spacious dining room are the initials “S,” incised into the four corners. One of two kitchens was located on the first floor, as well as a study, sunroom with a tile floor, and two of the master bedroom suites, both with fireplaces. There are a total of seven fireplaces and seven bathrooms.
The handsome dark wood central staircase rises and splits, each side leading to the second floor’s three master bedrooms, two with French fireplaces and baths, plus four servants’ bedrooms (two with water and a bath). The third floor full attic has three finished rooms, two of them cedar-lined for storage. The basement had a second kitchen connected to the floor above by a dumbwaiter; a fireproof wine room; a marble-walled three-tub laundry; a toilet; and furnace and coal rooms.
The Historical Society’s Heritage Recognition Program recognizes structures and locations of interest in Great Neck of architectural, historical or cultural interest. In addition to homes, the Society has recognized buildings such as Great Neck House and the Village School. Locations recognized receive a recognition plaque. Homeowners also receive a certificate describing the history of the location.
To request a Heritage Recognition application, visit the Historical Society website, www.greatneckhistorical.org or write to the Great Neck Historical Society, P.O. Box 234483, Great Neck, NY 11023.