Wildcliff Mansion (Cyrus Lawton House) Revisit on Anniversary of Fire

fire ravaged cliff mansion

A revisit on the anniversary of the arson that claimed this National Historic Place.

A few weeks ago I was in the area and headed up to the now-destroyed Wildcliff mansion in New Rochelle, New York. This unoccupied mansion was torched on November 26, 2018, by four middle school minors. All four teens were caught and found guilty of criminal trespass and one charged with arson. The fire completely destroyed the 1852 mansion that overlooked the Long Island Sound.

top view of burned out mansion roof

charred mansion chimney with house in background

Built as a wedding gift for the couple Sarah Marie Davenport and Cyrus Lawton, the cottage villa was designed by architect Alexander Jackson Davis. The historic residence boasts 20 rooms and has the advantage of facing the spectacular scenery of the open water save the now public park structures (Hudson Park) down below the property. According to City Historian Barbara Davis, “Wildcliff, as the Gothic cottage was later renamed, was gifted to the City of New Rochelle by the Julius Prince family in 1940. After having been utilized for city offices the building has housed a variety of not-for-profit groups and functions, including Wildcliff Natural Science Center, East Coast Performing Arts, and Wildcliff Center for the Arts. The interior of the building has not been used for several years; the exterior was restored with funds from the sale of an adjacent property.”

side view of arson damage mansion

triangular brick work with exposed fire damaged window

Currently, the property is owned by the City of New Rochelle. The city has created the Wildcliff Advisory Committee to find public uses for the damaged building and land.

Status: Currently standing with no plans for demolition as of yet (Nov 17, 2019)

Address: 42 Wildcliff Road, New Rochelle, New York or 44 Wildcliff Road, New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York



1. Failla, Zak "Wildcliff Committee To Explore Future Of Historic Westchester Mansion, Grounds" Daily Voice, 24 December 2018

2. Spillane, Matt "Wildcliff: 4 things to know about historic New Rochelle mansion that burned" Rockland/Westchester Journal News, 27 November 2018

3. Spillane, Matt "Four teens arrested in Wildcliff mansion fire" Rockland/Westchester Journal News, 12 December 2018

4. Wildcliff, Wikipedia

5. Osterink, Carole "The Fate of Wildcliff" The Gossips of Rivertown, 14 December 2018

6. Cox, Robert, "WILDCLIFF ARRESTS: Four New Rochelle Middle School Students Arrested for Wildcliff Mansion Fire" Talk of the Sound 12 December 2018

7. Villeda, Ray, "Historic Mansion in New Rochelle Goes Up in Flames" NBC New York, 26 November 2018


Popular posts from this blog

Exploring the Amazon Prime Fallout Locations in New York

Rockaway Metal Products Corporation

Former East New York 75th Precinct Station (153rd Precinct)

St. Michael and St. Edward Church: A Cornerstone of Fort Greene

Pop Smoke Mural No. 2