No, not the Cloisters, the magnificent reconstructed abbey that dominates the neighborhood today.
We’re talking about Libby Castle, just about the most impressive mansion among all of the ostentatious 19th century estates built in this hilly stretch of Manhattan, kind of a rural retreat for the city’s superrich.
Originally named Woodcliff Castle in 1855 by its first owner, importer Augustus C. Richards, it passed through several bigwig owners in its short life span.
William “Boss” Tweed of Tammany Hall fame later lived there, as did department store millionaire A.T. Stewart, who bequeathed it to his business partner, William Libbey (yep, the castle’s name is a misspelling).
By 1920, Libby Castle and some land surrounding it were owned by John D. Rockefeller. He bulldozed it to build the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park in the 1930s.
Tags: 19th century Inwood, building the Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, Fort Washington Park, Inwood mansions, John D. Rockefeller cloisters, Libby Castle, The Cloisters, Upper Manhattan in the 19th century, Upper Manhattan mansions, Woodcliff Castle