Estate (land)


An estate comprises the houses and outbuildings and supporting farmland and woods that surround the gardens and grounds of a very large property, such as a country house or mansion. It is an "estate" because the profits from its produce and rents are sufficient to support the household in the house at its center. Thus "the estate" may refer to all other cottages and villages in the same ownership as the mansion itself. An example of such an estate is Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, England. "Estate", with its "stately" connotations, has been a natural candidate for inflationary usage during the 20th century, much as the "landscaping" that can be effected in a front or back yard.

United States

In the United States: Long Island, Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, and other affluent East Coast enclaves; the San Francisco Bay Area, early Beverly Hills, California, Montecito, California and other affluent West Coast enclaves; all had strong traditions of large agricultural, grazing, and productive estates modeled on those in Europe. However, after the Great Depression and WW II, by the late 1940s and early 1950s many were demolished and subdivided. Today large houses on at least several acres are often referred to as "estates", a contemporary usage updating. In some real estate ventures however, the term's application is stretched. Traditional American estates include:

  • Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina; estate of George Washington Vanderbilt II
  • Hearst Castle, Central Coast of California; estate of William Randolph Hearst
  • Meadow Farm, East Islip, New York; estate of H. B. Hollins (demolished)
  • Westbrook, Great River, New York; estate of William Bayard Cutting
  • Coe Hall, Oyster Bay, New York; estate of William R. Coe
  • Indian Neck Hall, Oakdale, New York; estate of Frederick Gilbert Bourne
  • Inisfada, Manhasset, New York; estate of Nicholas Brady
  • Idle Hour, Oakdale, New York; estate of William Kissam Vanderbilt
  • Oheka Castle, Cold Spring Harbor, New York; estate of Otto Hermann Kahn
  • Harold Lloyd Estate, 'Greenacres' Beverly Hills, California; estate of Harold Lloyd
  • Filoli, Woodside, California; estate of the Bourne Family.
  • Dumbarton Oaks, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.; estate of WoodsóBliss Family, landscape architecture by Beatrix Farrand
In American English, the above connotation is the primary meaning of the word "estate" (when it is not prefaced by the word "real"). That is why the British English terms "trading estates" and "industrial estates" sound like oxymorons to Americans, as few wealthy persons would deliberately choose to live next to factories.

See also

  • Country house
  • Gentry
  • Patroon
  • Villa

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