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BELCOURT CASTLE is the former summer cottage of Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, son of the famous August Belmont, the King of Fifth Avenue. Oliver commissioned the chateau-style mansion in 1891, with construction carrying through until 1894. The architect was no other than Richard Morris Hunt, the famous father of American architecture of the Gilded Age. Oliver was mugged in New York City that year and was unable to move in for the 1894 summer season. Belcourt had gothic and medieval decoration per Oliver's desire. Alva did have her influence over Oliver even at that time to aid him in the construction.
Oliver Belmont arrived at Belcourt in July 1895, the beginning of the social season. However, being a bachelor, he held few festivities at Belcourt. Alva Vanderbilt of Marble House divorced her husband, Oliver's best friend, and soon after (in 1896) married Oliver himself. The couple spent their summers as Belcourt Castle until Oliver's untimely death in 1908, from complications following an appendectomy.
Widowed, Alva Belmont started a renovation project at Belcourt, with a second architect, John Russell Pope which lasted a few years with changes made only to the lower level of the house.
After Alva moved to France, Belcourt changed hands many times, first within the Belmont family and then out. The castle unoccupied was at risk of demolition until the Harold B. Tinney family purchased the mansion. In eight months of ownership, the Tinneys managed not only to improve the castle, but fully furnish it and open it up for tours in July 1957 and the last tour was held on Halloween night of 2012 by Harle Tinney herself.
Over the years, the Tinney collections and Belcourt have evolved greatly. Guests at Belcourt may enjoy such sights as the Golden Coronation Coach, a Russian imperial chandelier, German throne chairs, stained glass and antiques from thirty-three European and Oriental countries. The notable stained glass collection includes pieces from many different eras and represents the largest private collection of stained glass in the United States.
The home has seen the death of many members the Tinney family ending in the hands of Donald, the son of Harold and Ruth Tinney and his wife, Harle Hope Tinney. Donald died in 2006 and his wife held on to the mansion until 2012 and the sold it privately. The Tinney family owned Belcourt Castle for 56 years. Belcourt Castle is no longer open to the public but a private home again.
Harle Tinney will now write the story to tell you all about Belcourt Castle and how her husband is the one who added the "Castle" to the name. Harle Tinney sold the mansion and retained the name and the home will go back to the name of "Belcourt".