The Estate and Environs
  East Gate House
West Gate House
Stables and Coach House
Power House and Engineer's House
The Palm House
Toolhouse and Potting Shed
The Ice House
The Bowling Alley
The Farm and Later Artist Colony
Vanderbilt Tea House
Oakdale Railroad Station
Other Buildings in Idle Hour
The Mansion
  The First Mansion
The Second Mansion
Entrance Hall
Dining Room
Living Hall
Queen Anne Salon
Smoking Room
Palm Garden
Tennis Court & Cloister Wing
The Second Floor
The Third Floor
Post Vanderbilt Years
Dowling College
Home > About Us > The Second Mansion

The Second Mansion

Welcome to Idle Hour, the home of William K. Vanderbilt. It is 1901 and Idle Hour is the epitome of luxury. Listen. Do you hear the deep tones of the Aeolian pipe organ echo from the great living hall into the distinguished library and elegant salon? The music is dancing through the corridors of ancient oak and rich tapestries into the stately smoking room and immense dining room. On this pristine day, the notes are skimming the tranquil Connetquot River. Please enjoy your virtual visit to Idle Hour.

Satisfied with the location, William K. Sr. decided a new mansion would be built. Construction began in 1900 to the architectural plans of Richard Howland Hunt, son of the architect of the original Idle Hour. The new mansion was built in three stages: main house; palm court; and bachelor wing and tennis courts. When building the second mansion, Vanderbilt spared no expense. Marble was imported from Italy. Twenty-four karat gold leaf accented imported woodwork in the salon. Elaborately carved screens and panels were installed in lounges and drawing rooms. Ornate plaster work adorned ceilings and walls. The mansion had 110 rooms and a final cost exceeding $9.5 million dollars.

The English country house-styled mansion was completed in 1901. It was constructed of red, tapestry brick with sandstone and marble ornamentation to endure the ravages of time, temperature and fire. With hopes of preventing destruction by another blaze, a power plant was constructed a good distance from the home. Electricity and steam heat were supplied to the main house through tunnels under the lawns and gardens.

The beauty of the new mansion was its interior. The home was filled with ornate, antique furnishings imported from overseas. The Vanderbilts selected pieces during their European sojourns and shipped them back to the estate. Glorious cut velvet sections and silk tapestries were mounted on hallway, bedroom, and ceremonial room walls. Corridors were long and narrow, connecting the finely decorated rooms.

The first floor of the main building consisted of the entrance hall and vestibule area, ceremonial rooms, fives court (for a handball-like game), an Italian garden enclosed by a cloister walk and several other rooms. Family and guest chambers were on the second floor, and the third floor consisted of servants' quarters and closets. The basement contained kitchens, a pantry, servants' rooms, servant's dining room, wine cellar, and separate storage areas for food and firewood.

Enter Mansion through front door (left).