Oheka Castle: A Long Island Chateau
Last month, I got to visit a storybook chateau…but instead of going to France, I traveled to Huntington, NY!
Oheka Castle, named for its owner, financier Otto Hermann Kahn, was completed in 1919. While other area mansions, like Coe Hall at Planting Fields Arboretum and Hempstead House at Sands Point were built in the Tudor Revival style, Kahn’s home was based on French Renaissance models.
You’re greeted by this elegant grand staircase. The wrought iron staircase was created by Samuel Yellin, who produced ironwork for other mansions of the period.
Kahn threw many parties here, entertaining celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and Enrico Caruso. While the decoration of this ballroom is not original, it is faithful to the era, and gives a sense of the luxury that he and his guests enjoyed.
Here’s the stately library, with Kahn’s portrait hanging over the fireplace. (He is said to have been the inspiration for “Mr. Monopoly.”) The walls may look like wood, but they’re actually painted plaster! The castle was constructed to be fireproof.
Oheka still retains a French style garden, with clipped hedges, statues, reflecting pools and statues, like the one seen above. When I visited, the fountains were still turned off for the winter, but it was still a great pleasure to walk around!
After Kahn’s death in 1934, the castle was put to different uses…including being a vacation venue for New York sanitation workers! Eventually, the building was abandoned and fell into a severely neglected state. Luckily, the developer Gary Melius bought the property in 1984 and restored it.
Today, the castle has been reborn as a luxury hotel and event venue. You can visit as I did, by buying a ticket for a guided tour…or you can make a reservation at the hotel’s restaurant. Either way, it’s a treat to experience this beautiful Jazz Age mansion!
Learn more about the castle at their website: https://www.oheka.com/