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The History of the Woodbury House

personal injury attorney in Woodbury, New York near historic home

This article is sponsored by the personal injury attorneys in Woodbury, New York, from Banville Law.

The Land

Woodbury is a small hamlet located in Oyster Bay, with a population of 8,907 as of 2010, and takes up 3264 acres of Nassau County, New York. In the late 1800s, just as the Gold Coast Era was beginning, the original owners of the 250 acres, Piquet and Robbins, maintained it as farmland. It would not be until 1913 when they would cash out and sell 222 acres to James Watson Webb at the request of his wife, Electra Havemeyer.

The House

Webb appointed the services of architects Cross and Cross to render the plans for his mansion containing forty rooms under the advisement of Louisine Havemeyer and Lila Vanderbilt. These were James and Electra's mothers who influenced the use of imported treasures and the best craftsmanship. The English-style Woodbury House would be completed in 1914 and cost him more than $300,000. The exterior included an ice house stocked with ice cut from their private pond and a greenhouse.

The house had the following interior details:

  • 13 master-sized bedrooms
  • 13 baths
  • a reflecting pool
  • an enclosed rear porch
  • an upper balcony made of stone
  • indoor toilets

The Tinker House

The Webbs would raise their four children in the house and upon the lush 220 acres. However, James would join the US Army in 1917, and Electra would spend more and more time at their Vermont house, the Southern Acres. In 1921, the Chairman of Chase Securities, Edward Richmond Tinker, purchased the home and most land. Webb would reserve all but 74 acres.

Born in Massachusetts, Edward Tinker was the grandchild of the founder of the Republican party within the state. He was married to Marie Solace, the daughter of a novelist, Irving Bachellar. In search of a summer house, Edward Tinker won the Woodbury house at an auction for $162,000, outbidding more than six other bids.

Tinker was skilled at turning struggling businesses into profitable ones. His career awarded him a fortune at merely forty years old. One of his most outstanding career achievements was his work in 1924 with the Chrysler Motor Company. This ultimate deal could have been the key to him purchasing the last 147 acres of the Webb Estate.

With the remaining land in possession, Tinker wasted no time to enlarge his General Farms & Realty Corporation with poultry distribution to supply all of Long Island.
In 1955, just four years before he died, Tinker retired. He would be known for his many directorships as listed below:

  • Chrysler Motors
  • General Foods
  • Sinclair Oil Company
  • Hat Corporation of America
  • After the death of her husband, Marie auctioned off the house and land.

New Suburbia

In 1962, Gilbert Tilles purchased the entire estate and set to work constructing an industrial park, Crossways. This 137 acres would become the largest in Nassau County at the time. Despite the award, the residents stood in opposition to the industrial growth causing Tilles to donate 46 acres for a new community park. Tilles would later work toward seeking approval with the following additions to space:

  • Syosset-Woodbury Community Park (that featured a T-shaped pool)
  • Donation of acreage to Oyster Bay
  • Donation of ten acres to Syosset LCentral School District
  • Donation of a parcel for the 2nd Precinct Police Headquarters
  • Tinker's Pond Theater


With the influx of apartments and shopping plazas, there are few remains of the Woodbury Estate or the related establishments. In 2001, Tilles' 1100-seat Syosset United Artists Cinema 150, the last panoramic theater, left the town. The Woodbury House became the home for athletic storage and a carpentry shop leaving the Syosset-Woodbury Community Park as the most prized retreat in Woodbury.

To learn more about the nearby region, visit our next article on Syosset, NY.

Our Local Office

Over the years, our experienced Woodbury, New York personal injury attorneys have helped many accident victims secure the compensation they deserve. To learn more, contact our legal team to schedule your free case evaluation.

Banville Law
20 Crossways Park Dr N #210b,
Woodbury, NY 11797, USA
(516) 243-8034

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Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: March 4, 2021
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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