Monday, June 26, 2023

The Lost Charles S. Philips Mansion - 1082 Fifth Avenue

1082 Fifth Avenue is the center house.  To the left is the Archer Huntington mansion, and the house at right is the home to Elizabeth W. Van Ingen.  Past the vacant lot at left, the back of the Andrew Carnegie mansion can be glimpsed.  from the collection of the New York Public Library

On February 2, 1901, the Real Estate Record & Builders' Guide reported that George C. Edgar's Sons had purchased the 75-foot-wide, mid-block plot on Fifth Avenue between 89th and 90th Streets.  The article said the firm, "will erect three 5-story and basement American basement stone front dwellings."  The mansions would vary in width--one 22 feet, another 25 feet, and the third 28 feet wide.  The journal added that they "are expected to sell at from $225,000 to $350,000 each."  (The highest price would equal about $11.5 million in 2023.)

Designed by Turner & Kilian, each of the Beaux Arts style residences would be different, while maintaining architectural continuity.  Unlike its brick-faced siblings, 1082 Fifth Avenue was faced in limestone, its entrance centered below a projecting three-story bay.  The fifth floor enjoyed a stone balustraded balcony, while the sixth took the form of a full-height mansard.

As the mansions neared completion in April 1902, the Record & Guide reported that millionaire Archer M. Huntington had purchased two of them.  He bought 1083 Fifth Avenue for his own occupancy, and 1082 as an investment.

Huntington leased 1082 Fifth Avenue for six years, then sold it in August 1908 to Charles S. Phillips, an executive in the brokerage firm C. D. Barney & Co.  Before moving in, Phillips and his wife hired architect Alfred H. Taylor to completely remodel the interiors.  On July 23, 1910, the Record & Guide reported that he "enjoyed during the work the appreciation of a sympathetic client, whose wife was fond of the decorative work of France."

The renovated entrance hall.  Real Estate Record & Guide July 23, 1910 (copyright expired)

The comprehensive make-over was reflected in the journal's description of the dining room:

The dining-room is the result of a desire on the part of madame for a marble room.  Here the only wood in evidence is the table and chairs; and the mantel, wainscot, trims, wall-framing and even the sideboard are richly figured red Numidian marble with two window conservatories of Alps green marble with white stone fountains.  The walls are hung with green velvet, over which are suspended exquisite examples of rare tapestries.


The dining room walls were covered in deep green velvet.  Real Estate Record & Guide July 23, 1910 (copyright expired)

The dining room ceiling.  photo by Wurts Bros. from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York

The dining room was floored in green marble, and gilded plasterwork created a frame for "the vigorous painted ceiling panel by a noted French artist," said the article.  The critic said the room reflected "the palatial work at Fontainebleau."

Taylor paneled the library in mahogany and gave it a black marble mantel and antique Renaissance furniture.  The dark tones were relieved, said the Record & Guide, by bright yellows and blues in the Chinese rugs and cut velvet wall coverings.  "Touches of bright color are given by the precious Chinese vases and the iridescent Assyrian pottery."

Rare Chinese vases are displayed in the library.  Real Estate Record & Guide July 23, 1910 (copyright expired)

Charles Phillips was a recognized authority on antique furniture and tapestries, and the mansion was filled with costly items.  Examples of Louis XIV, XV, XVI, and Empire period furniture were placed throughout the house, along with valuable artworks.

Somewhat shockingly, after the couple's substantial financial outlay, the Phillipses relocated to Paris just three years later.  Everything in the mansion was sold during a three-day auction in December.  The catalogue used adjectives like "choicest," "sumptuously toned," "rare," and "splendid" in describing the furniture, tapestries, and artworks.

Eight months before the auction, Jay Gould II had married Anne Douglass Graham.  The son of George Jay Gould and Edith Kingdon, he had grown up in the lavish mansion at 857 Fifth Avenue.  In September, Charles S. Phillips sold him 1082 Fifth Avenue.  The New York Times called the sale "of more than ordinary interest."

Jay Gould II, from the collection of the Library of Congress.

Gould was the grandson of railroad mogul Jay Gould.  His bride had exotic relatives.  Anne was a cousin of Hawaiian Princess Abigail Campbell Kawānanakoa, wife of Prince David Kawānanakoa.  

Although educated at Columbia College, Gould would not follow the career paths of his grandfather and father.  By the time he entered Columbia, he was already a national and world class tennis champion.  As a teen, his father had constructed a tennis court for him at the family's country estate.  Three years before he and Anne moved into 1082 Fifth Avenue he had earned an Olympic gold medal in London.  (Interestingly, another wealthy tennis champion, Malcolm D. Whitman, lived two doors away at 1080 Fifth Avenue.)

On February 1, 1912, The Newark Daily Star reported, "Mr. and Mrs. Jay Gould are receiving congratulations on the birth of a daughter yesterday afternoon at their new home, 1082 Fifth avenue."  Baby Eleanor would be the first of three children.  Anne Douglass was born the following year, on March 5, and Jay Gould III arrived on May 13, 1920.

Two views of the drawing room during the Phillips residency.  photo by Wurts Bros. from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York 

In the meantime, their father continued to amaze on the tennis courts.  He won every U. S. Amateur Championship from 1906 to 1925, never losing a set.  

When America entered World War I, the tournaments were cancelled for the duration of the conflict.  Gould enlisted in the United States Army on October 6, 1917, achieving the rank of Junior Grade Lieutenant.

With things back to normal following the war, the Goulds resumed their enviable lifestyle.  On September 4, 1919, for instance, The Evening Post reported, "Mr. and Mrs. Jay Gould of 1082 Fifth Avenue have left Newport, where they were the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Vos, for their camp in the Catskills."

Anne Gould and Jay Gould III, The San Francisco Examiner, December 31, 1921 (copyright expired)

On December 30, 1921, Gould was away, possibly competing in a tennis match.  That morning Anne smelled smoke in her third floor bedroom.  The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, "she immediately informed her secretary.  They traced it to a chimney and then calmly phoned to fire headquarters to bring up an extinguisher before it could get headway."  When firefighters arrived, Anne and her secretary had already extinguished the small "soot fire."  Newspapers nationwide ran with the story.

The Philadelphia Inquirer said the fire "threatened the safety of her three children," and The San Francisco Examiner ran the headline, "Social Leader Saves Babies."  That article began, "Mrs. Annie Graham Gould, wife of Jay Gould, was a heroine in a fire which threatened her home at 1082 Fifth avenue."  The Evening World was more grounded, saying that the fire was extinguished "without difficulty" and "no damage was done."

Eleanor and Ann Gould on their mounts, Patches and Sport, in Central Park, across from their Fifth Avenue mansion.  The Spur, May 1, 1922 (copyright expired)

On June 17, 1925, The Sun reported that Frank George Doelger had purchased the Gould mansion.  Doelger was the son of the massively wealthy brewer Peter Doelger, and had grown up in the family's handsome mansion on Riverside Drive at 100th Street.  

"It is reported that Mr. Doelger will occupy 1082 as his residence," said the article.  That was and was not true.  Initially, Doelger hired architect Harry Allen Jacobs to replace the house with a modern mansion, also six-stories in height.  Jacobs's plans, filed the month after Doelger's purchase of the property, projected the cost at $40,000--or just under $620,000 in 2023.  But, for whatever reason, the 39-year-old bachelor millionaire did not go forward with the plan.

photo by Wurts Bros. from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York 

Society most likely presumed that Doelger would never marry.  If so, he surprised everyone when The York Dispatch reported on March 27, 1928, "Edna Wallace Leedom, musical comedy star, was married in Philadelphia on March 9, to Frank Doelger, wealthy New Yorker, who gave his occupation on the marriage application as 'brewer,' it became known today."  It was not a lavish, society wedding.  The couple was married by a police magistrate.  The groom was now 42, and his bride, a Ziegfeld Follies star, was 31.  The article noted that before taking to the vaudeville stage, Edna "sang in the choir of the Memorial Baptist church" in York, Pennsylvania.

Edna Leedom Doelger, National Vaudeville Artists Souvenir, 1924.

Doegler was Edna's fourth husband.  Newspapers were not sympathetic to her active marital history.  The Tulsa World asked in a headline, "Why Do They All Marry Edna Leedom?"  She had divorced her first husband, Billy Edmunds, and married actor Harry Tighe.  That marriage also ended in divorce, and in 1926 Edna married Ziegfeld Follies composer Dave Stamper.  In January 1927, the year before marrying Frank Doelger, she divorced him, as well.  The Tulsa World predicted this, too, would be a short marriage.  "Probably it won't be long before she finds that wealth isn't all she wants, either."

photo by Wurts Bros. from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York 

In 1929 the Doelgers welcomed a son, Frank Jr.  It was possibly baby Frank's arrival that prompted their moving to Queens, New York.  Despite their newborn baby, Edna still had a wandering eye.

The couple would endure humiliating press coverage that same year in December when Edna was sued by the wife of night club proprietor Chic Endor.  Doris Endor sought $400,000 reparations for alienation of affection.  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported (somewhat flippantly) on December 13, "With their prize already belonging to someone else, Mrs. Doris Endor and Edna Leedom Doelger, both actresses, will go to the legal mat at Mays Landing, N. J., next month over the affections of a man who vetoed them both and married someone else."

As it turned out, The Tulsa World's prediction that there would be other husbands fell flat.  Edna Leedom Doelger died at the age  of 41 on October 15, 1937.

In the meantime, 1082 Fifth Avenue was home to stockbroker Elliott Anderson and his wife Evelyn.  They, too, had domestic problems.  The couple separated in 1930, with Elliott continuing to live in the mansion.  Evelyn was awarded $15,000 per year in alimony (just short of $245,000 today).  She did not seem to be eager to obtain a divorce, however.  Evelyn appeared in court in June 1931 to extend her alimony payments under the separation agreement.  The New York Sun noted, "Mrs. Anderson won her separation suit on the ground of cruelty and intoxication."

In 1959 developer Markus Mizne purchased and demolished 1080 through 1082 Fifth Avenue.  He replaced the sumptuous mansions with a white brick apartment building designed by Wechsler & Schimenti.

Of the 1902 row, only the Archer Huntington mansion survives.  image via

no permission to reuse the content of this blog has been granted to


  1. The demolition of gorgeous buildings like this one was makes us appreciate what remains all the more. Another wonderful post!