Elda

Elda, better known as Abercrombie Castle, was constructed by and was once the home to David Abercrombie, founder of the Abercrombie Company. Abercrombie founded the Abercrombie Company on June 4, 1892, out of a small waterfront shop at 36 South Street in downtown Manhattan, New York. The manufacturing and retail business was dedicated to clothing and hunting, fishing, and camping equipment. Ezra Fitch became one of the store’s regular customers, and in 1900, Fitch acquired a major share in the Abercrombie Company and joined as a co-founder. In 1904, the company was renamed to the Abercrombie & Fitch Company. Fitch wanted to expand the company to appeal to the general public, while Abercrombie wanted to continue selling professional gear to professional outdoorsmen. In 1907, Abercrombie sold his share in the company to Fitch and established the David T. Abercrombie Company. After World War I concluded, Abercrombie resumed the David T. Abercrombie Company but had become semi-retired by the mid-1920’s. He and his wife, Lucy Abbott Cate, acquired 60 acres of land and built their residence, Elda, between 1925 and 1927, and was first occupied in late January 1928. The name Elda was an acronym from the first letter of the names of each of their four children, in birth order: Elizabeth, Lucy, David and Abbott. The English Cottage style mansion was built to resemble an imposing castle. Elda included 25 rooms and quarters for the servants. Also built were three small residences, a bathhouse, swimming pool, and a large pond. David Abercrombie died in 1937, after which time Lucy moved in with her daughter, Elizabeth. Elda remained unoccupied for several years. In 1964, James Harrick purchased Elda for $15,000 and began to renovate the dilapidated mansion. The project was never finished, due to the expensive nature of the project. After Harrick died in 1998, Elda was sold to the Half Moon Foundation of the Humanist Society for $1.510 million in 2001. The firm attempted to rent out the mansion as a conference and retreat center, but it was not a financial success. In 2011, Half Moon was sold to the Morgan Immovable Trust for $3.75 million but the residence was abandoned. It now sits empty and is a popular site to many. Unfortunately, the once beautiful property, was destroyed by vandals and is heavily graffitied.

 

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