This project was created by Lizzy Carr, a graduate student in the History Ph.D. program at the University of Rochester. It was created for Dr. Michael Jarvis’ Fall 2021 class HIS302/402 – Spatial History: Putting the Past in its Place.

Image of the author (on far left in white shirt) taken on the porch of Sagamore Hill during a visit in 2011. Image by Kari-Ann Carr.

Growing up on Long Island, Gold Coast estates were something not frequently discussed, but always in the background. My middle school took field trips to the Vanderbilt Musuem and Planetarium, my family loved visiting Planting Fields Arboretum and Sagamore Hill, and as I got older I learned to appreciate the uniqueness of these estates. Gold Coast mansions were much closer to home too; in the mid-1990s, my grandparents purchased at auction an early Gold Coast mansion, The Hill, and restored it to its former glory. They later opened a bed and breakfast in the home, and my family lived there for several years when I was a child.

Video made in 2008 by my father, Edward Carr, showing current and historic photos of The Hill.

Despite growing up surrounded by this history, however, I realized that I knew relatively little about these homes and more specifically, the people who built and lived in them. This project is an attempt to better understand how these estates relate to the larger cultural patterns of the Gilded Age, how wealth and class impacted the development of Long Island, and their legacy almost a hundred years later.

This project is an experiment in using digital public history platforms to educate people about Long Island history, as well as to provide a research platform for scholars. The raw data and information collected may be used, with credit, by scholars and researchers interested in exploring this topic further.

To contact Lizzy, you may reach her at ecarr4@ur.rochster.edu.