Stone Court, the estate of the noted American architect Ernest Flagg, is located on the crest of Todt Hill, part of the central ridge of serpentine rock which bisects the northern half of Staten Island and offers from its crest splendid view of the Atlantic Ocean. Together with the nearby stone cottages he built on lands once included as part of his estate, it encapsulates both his sophisticated and highly individual approach to architectural design and his lifelong commitment to building reform which made him one of the most influential New York architects around the turn of the century.
Flagg constructed his imposing Colonial Revival style residence between 1898 and 1899. The handsome thirty-two room mansion, the Gatehouse and Gate were built of fieldstone. It represents a major attempt to use regional styles expressive of his admiration for American colonial architecture. The combination of whitewash rough stone and shingle construction and the huge dormered gambrel roof with its dominating chimneys has a studied vernacular character. The gatehouse on the estate was constructed of fieldstone, for the gardener, and is contemporary with the mansion.
Flagg’s interest in technological experimentation, which was later to dominate the development of his estate, was a concern from the beginning in Flagg’s own house. The dominating twin brick chimneys with ventilator caps painted black, a recurrent hallmark of Flagg’s Staten Island work, were skillfully designed to improve ventilation and economize on heating. Located at the rear of the grounds and constructed at the same time, the fieldstone stable and large water tower–sympathetic adjuncts to the wings–also predict the future development of Flagg’s estate. Their simplified forms and relationship to each other, and to the wings, anticipates the community of small stone houses Flagg would construct near his residence.
STATUS Designated Individual Landmark
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