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THE SPRATT MANSIONEdit
It was one of many fine mansions along the banks of the Hudson River in Tarrytown. The house stood in one of the densest concentrations of great estates in the Valley, surrounded by some very famous neighbors. The mansion was part of the setting for the television series Dark Shadows and is known to fans of DS as The Old House .
Lyndhurst, adjacent to the Spratt Estate in Tarrytown, was used as the New House, "Collinwood ," in several of the Dark Shadows movies.
The house is named for William Spratt, Jr., who lived there in the 1930's. Previous owners of the estate include Henry Holdredge (circa 1870's), Howard Jaffray (nephew of E.S. Jaffray, who resided at nearby Willowbrook, c. 1880's), and Helen J. Banker (c. 1900).
Another resident of the Spratt Estate was Raymond C. Schindler (1882-1959). He was one of America's most noted detectives. He got his start working for the William J. Burns Agency in 1909 and a few years later started the Schindler Bureau of Investigation, which may have been in operation as late as the 1960s. In 1950, a book was written about him and his fascinating cases titled "The Complete Detective." "Who Was Who in America" (Vol. III 1951-1960) gives a short bio of Schindler and lists his (final) home as the Spratt Estate, Tarrytown, NY.
The house burned down in 1969, the cause of the fire being arson. The house had been abandoned for some years, and was owned for a while by the Duchess of Tallyrand, who also owned Lyndhurst. In the 1970's the estate was owned by Robert Martin Corp., along with parts of the Wolfert's Dell estate and all of the Willowbrook estate. There were plans to build condominiums on those properties, but they were never built. I don't know exactly when the house was completely demolished. The only things that remain of the old estate are the main road that runs through, and a small fountain pool can be seen just south of where the house stood. The foundation of the carriage house is extant, and one can walk in its basement.