Oheka Castle, a spectacular French-style chateau near Huntington, New York, was constructed in 1919. It had 127 rooms and more than 109,000 square feet of living area, making it the second-largest private mansion ever built in the US. The castle has a colorful past that includes hosting lavish parties in the Roaring Twenties and acting as a training ground for soldiers during World War II.
Having been brought back to its former majesty, Oheka Castle now operates as a luxury hotel and a top event location, giving guests the chance to take in the beauty and heritage of this well-known American monument.
History of Oheka Castle
Otto Hermann Kahn, a financier and philanthropist, constructed OHEKA CASTLE in the middle of a 443-acre property near Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, for an estimated $11 million ($158 million in today’s money). The French-style chateau was created as the second-largest private residence in America at the time of its construction and continues to be so now. The 109,000 square foot, 127 room mansion served as Kahn’s summer residence during the Gilded Era of the 1920s, where he frequently hosted lavish parties and invited royalty, heads of state, and Hollywood celebrities.
Oheka had been a government training facility for merchant marine radio operators as well as a getaway for New York sanitation workers by the time Kahn passed away in 1934. When the Eastern Military College bought Oheka in 1948, they split the rooms, covered the walls with paint, and removed the lovely gardens. After becoming bankrupt thirty years later, the school was abandoned and vulnerable to arsonist vandalism.
Architecture and Design
Architect and owner
Otto H. Kahn, an investor and philanthropist, commissioned Delano and Aldrich, a leading Beaux Arts architectural team, to create this lovely French Chateau-style residence in 1919.
Kahn commissioned the prominent Olmsted Brothers (sons of Frederick Law Olmstead of Central Park fame) to build the 443-acre grounds, golf course, and gardens in the French Manor style because he wanted his vacation residence for himself and his wife Addie to be the nicest house on Long Island.
Process of Design and Construction
Evergreen plants were added by Olmsted Brothers to line the lengthy entrance drive, punctuate the terraces, and provide a layered enclosure for the water parterre. Under James Fraser’s direction, truckloads of specimen trees and shrubs were moved from Kahn’s Cedar Court estate in Morristown, New Jersey, to Oheka.
James Fraser would later take over as the park’s manager and carry out the Olmsted design long after their involvement ended. Seth Raynor, a golf course designer, created an eighteen-hole course to wind around the “castle” and its gardens around 1919.
Kahn’s widow Addie sold the estate to the City of New York after his passing in 1934, and the Department of Sanitation employees utilized it as a vacation. After the war, the huge greenhouse complex was sold, and the most of the land was turned into home sites. The golf course was then acquired by the Cold Spring Country Club. Up until 1979, the mansion and its surroundings underwent major change as the Eastern Military Academy occupied the space.
Developer Gary Melius bought the property in 1984 and restored the historic structures and grounds to create a posh hotel attraction. The original Robert Trent Jones-improved golf course is now again connected to Oheka, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
Oheka Castle Renovation
A Long Island entrepreneur named Gary Melius bought Oheka in 1984. To restore the house, which was in nearly total disrepair, and rebuild the grounds according to the original Olmsted drawings, Melius launched the greatest private domestic rehabilitation project in the history of the United States. In 1988, Melius sold the land to Hideki Yokoi for $22.5 million because he was unable to continue financing the enormous undertaking. The building was given to one of Yokoi’s daughters and her husband ten years later after a lawsuit. They were unable to maintain the estate themselves, so Melius leased it again and then bought it back, running it as a venue for weddings and other special occasions, a luxury hotel, and a conference center.
Interior of Oheka Castle
The graceful designs of well-known French chateaux, which served as inspiration for the stunning construction of OHEKA in 1919, are reflected in the superb furnishings and tasteful décor of the Castle’s Chateau Rooms. Room with access is provided.
These elegant guest rooms, which bear Harry Payne Whitney’s name, are as lavish as the Metropolitan Opera, which Mr. Whitney supported and which was principally owned by Otto H. Kahn. Mr. Whitney was a businessman, sportsman, and supporter of the arts.
These marvelously opulent chambers are playfully named for Douglas Fairbanks, a well-known actor and Otto H. Kahn’s close friend.
Events and Parties
Oheka Castle Wedding
For your wedding at Oheka Castle, you can pick between a Terrace Room, Formal Dining Room, or Grand Ballroom. Each choice has additional rooms inside and can host gatherings of any size, with the coveted Terrace Room’s cocktail reception area accommodating up to 700 guests.
The Great Lawn may be used for an outdoor ceremony at this medieval castle, and the surroundings are stunning and scenic, making for unbeatable wedding photos. The scene is undoubtedly unforgettable. If the weather does not allow for an outdoor celebration, there is certainly plenty of space inside the Castle to hold the event. Although the Castle is lovely on its own, visitors are welcome to decorate it anyway they choose. The Grand Ballroom and the Formal Dining Room are the best indoor event alternatives for this venue.
Oheka Castle doesn’t offer bundles because several factors determine price. They recommend meeting with a sales manager for a personalized price. The average per-person cost is $250–$400, depending on the month and day. Holidays are most expensive, followed by Saturdays. Monday through Thursday for the first three months at $200 per participant is the most cost-effective. If you don’t mind the cold, visiting Oheka Castle in winter when it’s lightly snowed makes for beautiful images.
Today, Oheka Castle is a National Register of Historic Places listing and a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation that honors and recognizes the best historic hotels in America, and Historic Hotels Worldwide, which promotes heritage and cultural travel to prestigious historic treasures. Restoration was worth $40 million.
The castle has become one of the world’s most prestigious wedding venues after hosting Citizen Kane, Royal Pains, Succession, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” music video, and Liam Payne and Rita Ora’s “For You” music video for Fifty Shades Freed. Oheka Castle inspired The Great Gatsby’s Jay Gatsby’s estate.
People also Ask :
Was oheka castle owner murdered?
- Owner of Oheka Castle Gary Melius, 70, was shot in the head by a masked assailant who fired three shots, twice missing. Feb. 24, 2014.
How much is Oheka Castle worth?
- $11 million is the anticipated cost ($158 million in today’s money).
Why is Oheka Castle famous?
- OHEKA CASTLE was the second-largest private mansion in the nation, with a total of 109,000 square feet.
Was Oheka Castle destroyed?
- Finally, Oheka was abandoned and exposed to arson attempts and vandalism. Around this time, hundreds of fires were started. Fortunately, the estate was entirely constructed of concrete and would cost a fortune to dismantle.
What celebrities got married at Oheka Castle?
- Danielle and Kevin Jonas
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