This is a photo of August Belmont’s mansion on the west side of the lake. Another gem from Chuck Akalski posted on the Babylon Village Facebook Group. He notes that
This photo was probably taken a few years before his 500 acre estate was sold for development in the mid-1920s. At its height, Belmont’s farm had over 200 acres growing wheat, rye and corn as well as grass for hay for his world class race horses. The farm had chicken coops, hog pens, a cow shed and pasture for 45 Jersey milk cattle, a green house with palm trees, an ice house, a conservatory, dog kennels, game cocks, quail, a recreation building with a bowling alley and squash courts and a separate stable for his carriage horses. In 1878, he complained that it was costing him $50,000 a year to run the farm
Belmont was, among many other things, an avid horse-breeder and racehorse owner. He established the Belmont Park racecourse and is is the namesake of the Belmont Stakes.
After he passed away in 1890, his son took up his mantle and is credited with having saved thoroughbred racing when it was at its lowest ebb in the East, after the repeal of the racing law in New York State. He bred 129 American Stakes winners, including his most famous foal, Man O’War.
Belmont Jr. spent his last years on this 1,100-acre estate. After he passed, his widow Eleanor sold most of the estate to a property developer. The remaining 158 acres including the family mansion, lake, and main farm buildings, were taken over by New York State. Under the control of planner Robert Moses, the estate was later expanded to 459 acres and turned into Belmont Lake State Park. The mansion served as headquarters for the Long Island State Park Commission until 1935, when it was demolished to make way for the current building.
I enjoyed your article. I would like to bring to your attention that this Photo was posted on the North Babylon History Projects Face Book Page. The Photo was given to us by the Long Island Commission of State Parks.
Thanks Richard! I found it on the Babylon Village Facebook group.
I enjoyed reading about the Belmont Lake Parks. I recently moved here and enjoy walking thru the park.t during the summer, I will take my grandson and rent a Paddle boat. Thank you Robert Moses for seeing what the future can hold for people.