The Opulent White Lake Mansion House
On my trip to see where Woodstock was held in 1969, Bethel, NY, my cousin and I happened upon this gem on the side of the road in White Lake, New York. The Mansion House is a Greek Revival style hotel was built in 1848 by the Kinne family, who owned it for 82 years. After doing a little research after the trip, I found out that it was the first and one of the most opulent hotels in Sullivan County when it opened.
I couldn’t find a complete history of the building, but it’s obvious it’s fallen out of capable hands. It’s boards are decaying, the paint flaking and everything inside is a shambles. It was disappointing to think of what the building could have been like had someone taken care of it.
Then again, my imagination goes wild thinking about who could have walked through this door and the charming atmosphere that could have existed at this hotel overlooking White Lake. Apparently it was a summer get-away for Manhattanites (much like places here in East Hampton).
I felt like the house was almost hibernating in a way, like a grizzly bear that had been and will be awake but I just happened upon it while it was at rest. Its brokenness intrigued me but also made me feel extremely uneasy, as if at any moment it would punish me for exploring its floors and peaking through its windows.
Apparently, according to the local newspaper, The Times Herald Record, there is a developer who wants to tear it down and rebuild, of course, as there always is. He told the paper he would build a replica of the building, but personally, it seems more charming and respectful to renovate the original.
When I was there, there was no sign of change coming.
It is one of the most beautiful ruins I’ve seen on this continent, granted I have much more exploring to do!
Here’s more information about it and this is what it used to look like at its peak: