You know those Joneses we’re always comparing ourselves too?
Well, not only were they apparently a real family, but their long desired mansion just crossed the auction lot – and in bankruptcy at that!
It’s known as the Wyndclyffe Castle, and was built in 1853 for Manhattan socialite Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones – a member of a wealthy family and aunt of American novelist Edith Wharton (who wrote “Ethan Frome,” “The House of Mirth” and “The Age of Innocence.”). Per AP News:
The property’s elegance is said to have prompted owners of nearby Hudson Valley estates to build even bigger mansions, giving birth to the idiom “Keeping up with the Joneses.”
Of course, these Joneses have long passed and I’m sure greatly enjoyed their spoils, but it’s pretty ironic that years later the house is in full disrepair and couldn’t even keep up with itself. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that the last owners tried to keep up with the Joneses and failed miserably? So what if it’s 163 years old ;)
Here’s a couple more pictures of it per Maltz Auctions – the auction house who sold it – as well as some of its features:
The “Keeping Up With The Joneses” House:
- 25 Wyndclyffe Court, Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, NY 12572
- 2.5 acres (used to be 80 acres, including waterfront access)
- 3 stories
- 7,690 sq ft
- 9 bedrooms
- 5 bathrooms
- 4 fireplaces
- Full basement
- Designed by George Veitch
- Also known as Linden Hall and Finck Castle named after subsequent owners
It was last appraised at $312,900 but ended up going for a paltry $120,000 – down from millions back in its day. With annual real estate taxes of currently $7,311.83.
Oh, and it was only a “summer home.” #UltraWealth
Here’s more fascinating background on it, along with super freaky inside pics and what Edith Wharton herself truly thought of the place (spoiler alert: she thought it was “intolerably ugly”): Inside The Haunted Abandoned Wyndcliffe Mansion in NY’s Hudson Valley
I swear if I was retired already I’d have snatched it up and built my headquarters in it! What better place to blog about personal finances than the home that started it all? I’d have opened it up for all my loyal readers too, and even hosted FinCon 2017 at it.
Perhaps I’ll talk to the new owner and see what we can work out :)
On the flip side of the spectrum, if you’re a Harry Potter fan you’re gonna love another house currently up for sale which has fared much (much) better over the years.
It’s known as “4 Privet Drive” and was where Harry Potter spent his first 11 years living under the stairs in the cupboard, courtesy of his cruel aunt and uncle, Vernon and Petunia Dursley.
The cost of this house? $620,000 (£475,000) for a modest, newly refurbished, 3 bedroom house. Real address: 12 Picket Post Close, situated in the quiet suburbs of Bracknell in Berkshire, England, 25 miles west of London. The sales page is so humble it doesn’t even make note of its famous history!
So the lessons today are quite clear: Wizards rule and Joneses drool.
If you’re going to be chasing anything, make sure it’s your destiny. Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light – Albus Dumbledore.