Idle Hour Burns

“Idle Hour” was the home of William K. Vanderbilt Jr. and his wife, Virginia Graham Fair.  The couple were married in 1899 and an article from the 12 Apr 1899 issue of The San-Fransisco Call newspaper describes how it burned.  The home shown below, was located near Oakdale, Long Island.  The mansion built to replace this one, is now part of Dowling College.  On their website, you can read some more history and take a virtual tour.


You can read the whole article here.


8 thoughts on “Idle Hour Burns

  1. excuse me, but, WRONG!
    Eagle’s nest was Jr.’s residence
    This was owned by Sr.
    When Sr. divorced Alva, she got Marble House and he kept Idle Hour. I think Harold inherited Idle Hour and promptly auctioned the contents.
    It’s a long story……

  2. Peter is correct. Jr. and his bride were staying at the original Idle Hour when it burned. The picture you display is not the original Idle Hour or the rebuilt one. It is a concept sketch.

    See much more and lots of stories on my website: in the History section.

    I am sure you will find that interesting reading and please feel free to submit more info!

  3. I just finished reading “The glitter and the gold” by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan. Idle Hour was her childhood home as well as Marblehouse in Newport RI. As much as she loved Idle Hour, she hated Marblehouse. The “Marble prison” as she called it, was her residents at the time her mother (Alva Vanderbilt) married her off to the 9th Duke of Marborough.

  4. This sketch is not one of the Vanderbilt’s Long Island Homes
    but rather a mansion built by the architectural firm of Peabody
    and Stearns for a Mr. Pierre Lorillord V, in Newport Rhode Island. The mansion was named “Breakers”. Cornelius Vanderbilt bought the house in 1885. In 1892 the house burned and was replaced by the “Breakers” we are familiar with today.

    P.S. The first “Idlehour” in Oakdale did burn and was replaced by the 104 room “Idlehour” which is extant and part of Dowling College.

    This information may not be 100% correct, but I,m sure it’s close.


  5. Mitch, where did you find this info? Sounds like the newspaper people used the pic because they didn’t have one of Idle Hour handy for the story.

  6. I love the discussion that’s been taking place! Hi Mitch, yes, I too would be interested in learning more about this being the sketch for the original Breakers. Maybe one day I’ll actually get to visit each of these homes. 🙂

  7. There are pictures of original Breakers and Idle Hour in book,
    Vanderbilt Homes. Original Breakers was at the time the largest “cottage ” in Newport


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