Former Dowling College campus goes on auction block
The former Dowling College campus went on the auction block Tuesday, and while its future remains unknown, News 12 took a look back at the 25-acre waterfront property that's steeped in history.
For the past 48 years, the stately stone-and-brick mansion placed strategically on the shore of the Connetquot River in Oakdale served as the prized centerpiece of Dowling's campus.
Known as "Idle Hour," the estate was built in 1903 by William K. Vanderbilt, the wealthy grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. It was located on Long Island's South Shore, where the great Titans of Industry built their summer mansions on what's known as the Island's first Gold Coast. Its price tag at the time was $9.5 million.
Steve Birkland, of the Oakdale Historical Society, says the country retreat was located on 900 acres of land just south of Montauk Highway. Most architectural detail of the 110-room mansion is still intact, including a grand staircase and elaborate atrium called the palm court, which served as a setting for Vanderbilt's lavish parties.
Preservationists say they hope the campus' historical legacy will help safeguard it for the future.