135 W Gate Dr, Huntington, NY 11743
Otto Hermann Kahn was a German born financier, investment banker and philanthropist. When Kahn was younger, he strive to become an artist, however, being 1 out of 8 children, his career was selected for him. His father had selected banking for him and at the age of 17, started working in a bank. He became successful and by age of 26, he accepted an offer and moved to New York City. Otto Kahn married his wife and joined Kuhn, Loeb & Co. in New York City, where his father-in-law, Abraham Wolff, was a partner. Otto Kahn loved the arts and architecture. He is the inspiration for Mr. Monopoly.
As a man of his extreme wealth, Otto Kahn owned a residence in New York City and Morristown, NJ. Kahn was never accepted into the social life of New Jersey. After a fire in his NJ home, he purchased 443 acres of land in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. He built his country summer home there. A man-made hill took two years to complete, making it one of the highest point in Long Island. Kahn commissioned for a French Style Chateau, built in 1919. As a result of the fire in his earlier home, Kahn sought to make Oheka Castle fireproof. The architects were Delano and Aldrich. It was estimated to cost $11 million at the time. ($158 mil today) At the time of completion, Oheka Castle boasted 127 rooms, 109,000 square feet, 126 servants, 39 fireplaces, indoor pool, stables, a landing strip, tennis courts, and an 18-hole golf course. The gardens and landscape were completed by Beatrix Farrand, under the Olmsted Brothers. Secret tunnels were also built for the workers to come and go without disrupting the main house.
Oheka Castle was built for entertainment and hosted many lavish parties with celebrities. Some parties could grow up to 600 guests. The largest event was the annual Easter egg hunt where Kahn would stuff thousands of dollars into eggs. Maud Kahn, Otto Kahn daughter, married at the Castle and become the first bride of Oheka. After his death, Oheka which is an acronym for Otto HErmann KAhn, was sold to the Welfare fund of Sanitation. The Castle became a retreat and retirement home for Sanitation workers in 1939. By 1942,it became a radio operator school for Merchant Marines. In 1946, the stables and golf course became part of the Cold Spring Country club. The Castle was then sold to Eastern Military Service, which used it as a school from 1948 to 1979.
By 1979, it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The Castle faced many attacks of Arson and Vandalism in the early 1980s, however as a result of Kahn fear of fire, the castle survived. In 1984, Gary Melius, A long Island developer, purchased Oheka Castle for $1.5 Million and began the largest restoration of a private home. The restoration was intensive and proved too much for Gary Melius. He sold the property for $22.5 to Hideki Yokoi. They were unable to sustain the property themselves, so Melius reacquired it under a long-term lease and later re-purchased the estate. After its $37 million renovation, The castle is now a Historical Hotel and wedding venue. The first wedding took place on May, 7,1987. There is a restaurant and private tours. It has been featured in many films and videos such as Cruel intentions, Royal Pains, What happens in Vegas, Mega Mansions and Taylor Swift Blank Space. Many celebrities have married here such as Joey Fatone, Kevin Jonas and Anthony Weiner. There are future plans for a luxury spa.
I had the honor of staying at the castle and its every girl’s dream come true. I did feel as if I was a princess living in a castle. The room was perfect and the claw foot tub was a dream come true. The bed was fitted with sheets from Fette, which can cost up $1500 for one bedspread. I honestly can say it was the best sleep of my life. I am a curious cat and went off to explore the grounds. The gardens are quite lovely and teleport you to France. I did not feel as if I was in Long Island but in a Chateau in the country side of France. I didn’t want to leave. I am huge architecture fan and almost died observing the French style architecture. The ceilings in the ballroom are so gorgeous, they make you want to cry. The library is so massive, I felt as if my beast was waiting around the corner. After meeting Gary Melius, you can see his loved for the castle. There was a gleam in his eye and happiness in his heart just from seeing his guests enjoy the castle. I would recommend visiting the castle, even if it’s just to dine in the restaurant. Would you become royalty in this lavish castle?