Macy's family built this frozen-in-time compound between Titanic disaster and Depression

Macy's family built this frozen-in-time compound between Titanic disaster and Depression
A sunroom. Click any photo for a slideshow.
A sunroom. Click any photo for a slideshow.

By Emily Heffter, Zillow Blog

When the Titanic sank in 1912, early Macy's department store owners Isidore and Ida Straus went down with it -- according to lore, he refused a life-raft seat before women and children, and his wife declared to him, "Where you go, I go." 

Their children used their inheritance to begin construction on this large estate, Cobble Close in Red Bank, New Jersey, in the late 1920s. The design was borrowed from 18th-century Provence, and no expense was spared. Any materials that couldn’t be imported were built on site by French and Italian artisans who immigrated to America for the job.

The Strauses built an orangery, a barn and a caretaker’s cottage. They intended to finish it off with a majestic 35-bedroom chateau. But the Depression slowed construction, and the chateau was never completed. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow of Cobble Close.)

The Straus family sold the compound in 1951.
The Straus family sold the compound in 1951.

In 1951, the family sold the estate. The buyers converted the buildings into homes and turned the estate into a co-op, with separate owners for each of the property’s historic buildings and shared use of the colonnade and swimming pool.

The neighborhood is a wealthy one — Jon Bon Jovi lives nearby — and now that all the families on the estate are ready to sell, the entire property could become a grand single residence again. It's on the market for $10.9 million.

Cobble Close looks much as it did in 1930, with few upgrades. It feels like stepping back in time — at least to the 1930s, but perhaps even further, to the European farm after which it was modeled.

“I don’t know who’s going to buy this place,” said Jeff Mindham, who lives in one of the homes on the property. “It’s 29,000 square feet. It’s like a junior college.”

Click here or on a photo for a slideshow of Cobble Close. (Photos by Carl Bellavia.)

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