Claremont Road, Bernardsville, Somerset County, New Jersey
This house is best associated with...
James Coleman Drayton
J. Coleman Drayton of New York City, Philadelphia & Newport, Rhode Island
Thatcher Magoun Adams
Thatcher M. Adams, Attorney, of New York City & Lenox, Massachusetts
John Fairfield Dryden
Senator John F. Dryden, (1839-1911), Founder of Prudential Life Insurance
It was Dryden who renamed the estate "Stronghold" and he employed George Post to add the Corinthian-columned portico (on the opposite end of the house from the tower) that leads onto the steps that drop down to the lawn, flanked by a pair of rhino statues. It remained in the Dryden family until 1940 when it became the Gill St. Bernard's School, a private all-girls school. It continued as a school until 1995. The new owners then started a huge renovation project that included fitting a new zinc roof imported from France, but while they finished the exterior, they ran out of funds leaving the interior unfinished.
The mansion sat empty until 2005 when it was purchased for $7.5 million by the fashion designer Marc Ecko. He completed the renovations and in 2015 placed the 7-bedroom, 30,000 square-foot mansion on the market. It remains a private family home.
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