The Village Club of Sands Point, formerly the IBM Country Club, was once the estate of Isaac Guggenheim. The manor house was started by him in 1916 and completed in 1918. After his death in 1922, the property reverted to his estate and then, in 1924 was purchased at auction by his brother, Solomon R. Guggenheim. Another brother, Daniel Guggenheim, had an estate further north on the Point which is now occupied by the Nassau Country Park System and his son, Harry Guggenheim, continued to reside on an adjoining estate until his death in 1971. These men were the sons of Meyer Guggenheim who, together with their father and brothers, developed their investments in mining, smelting and refining into one of the major American family fortunes.
The Design of the Estate
The Club property, facing on Hempstead Harbor covers approximately 210 acres. When owned by Isaac, it was known as the "Villa Carola. Solomon renamed it "Trillora Court" for his three daughters. His two yachts were named Trillora I and Trillora II. The mansion has been described as an Italian Renaissance type, and was designed by H. Van Buren Magonigle. All of the other buildings -- the golf club house, the garage, the barns - predate the main house, except the horse stable (now used for Country Club equipment), which was built by Solomon for one of his daughters, and the beach house completed by IBM in 1954. As a part of the general design of the estate, the land surrounding the residence was also developed in the formal style of the Italian Renaissance under the supervision of Ferruccio Vitale, a landscape architect. The formal Gardens are on the southwesterly front of the house beneath the broad terrace. They in turn extend to the long grassy avenue (the "allee") planted on either side. The gardens are divided into four parts -- the central portion made up of a broad greensward. It is flanked by sections of perennial borders. At the foot of the gardens, a fourth portion, extends across the entire width. Among the out-buildings included in the 1924 prospectus were: a main entrance lodge, golf club house, caretakers cottage, greenhouses, garage, ice house, stable and dairy barn, farm house, hay barn, dog kennels, wagon shed and sewage disposal plant. During the summer, Solomon Guggenheim would commute to his New York office on his smaller yacht, a 125' boat, which had a crew of six. His larger yacht had a crew of forty and was used principally for cruises in European waters.
There are many fascinating details about the manor house both in its design and the materials used in the construction. The exterior, for example, was constructed of tapestry brick of several soft shades accented with terra cotta and marble and with roof tiles selected to reproduce the general color of the brickwork. From the current tennis facility there is a clear view of the New York skyline. The main living room, sun porch and dining room were located on the southwesterly front of the house. Mr. and Mrs. Guggenheim's private suites of bedrooms, bathrooms and dressing rooms were directly above them. To help secure a good circulation of air, the house was built around the central open court which was described as "an extremely decorative feature with its marble column loggias, fountain basin and group, grassy floor and growing rhododendrons and cedars, The grass was eventually taken out and the marble floor was installed. In recent years, the planting has been discontinued and the fountain disconnected.
The Mansion Purchased by IBM in 1953; Purchased by the Village of Sands Point in 1994
After Solomon's death in 1948, a group of private builders purchased the property and were at one time planning to construct a large number of houses on one-acre plots. The venture was unsuccessful, and only three houses were actually completed; these now face on Astor's Lane. At this time, IBM Chairman, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. discovered the property and recommended that it be purchased as a country club for the New York area employees. The announcement of the IBM purchase appeared in the newspapers on March 4, 1953. In July 1959, the Executive Development Center held its first class in the mansion. The Corporate Management Development School continued to use this site for executive development training until the opening of the Corporate Management Development Center in August 1979. Sands Point was then utilized as a conference center for all divisions until its sale to the Village of Sands Point on December 1, 1994. The mansion continues to serve as the focal point for numerous club activities from weekly bridge games to special events i.e. Summer Concerts, Holiday parties. In addition, the bedrooms are available to visiting guests of members. The golf course underwent a major renovation, with 9 new holes of golf, which opened in July 2000. The existing 9 holes underwent an extensive renovation and opened on May 25, 2001 as an 18-hole golf course . The dairy barn has been renovated into a new golf pro shop and the original chaffeur's garage has been turned into a new bar and grille restaurant with locker rooms upstairs, which opened in July 2001. The current entrance road to the Club opened in July 2000. The golf course now covers the prior entrance.