Photo © Ian Coristine/
 You are here:  Back Issues      Archive

Paul Malo's Carleton Villa Life


In 2006 Paul Malo shared a collection of Carleton Villa photographs.  These historic photographs have been provided by Elizabeth Wyckoff Balderston and the Millar family of Carleton Island.

We are pleased to present these for you in a special format.  Place your mouse over the photograph and click to enlarge, click again and they return to their thumbnail size.  Paul included captions that describe Carleton Villa life.


A country house in the grand manner, Carleton Villa recalled the European seat of a landed family. A model farm on the island supported the illusion, although William Wyckoff derived a new fortune from industry and commerce, not the land. The photograph, taken from the rock ledge on the lake side, shows two unidentified ladies, probably guests.  Carleton Villa was a family summer home for many children and grandchildren, accommodating large house parties. Although substantial in construction and generous in size, Carleton Villa was not baronial in style of furnishing. Light wood and wicker pieces were deemed appropriate for a summer cottage. Except for carpets, the decor employed little of the rich fabric upholstery, draperies, or curtains more typical of a town house of the period. The main hall was the central gathering place, providing a piano for entertainment. Large openings linked spatious rooms, providing long vistas -- here from dining room through hall into the library. The view back from the library to the dining room shows the piano in the hall. Like the absence of conventional window dressing, large sheets of plate glass provided a "modern" character. The minimal veranda railing was consistent with the uncluttered appearance. The windows themselves were unconventional, sliding up into hidden pockets to provide ventilation.

South Bay accommodated yacht, boat, and skiff houses. The Wyckoffs had two yachts, the Ezra Cornell and the Remington. The large building at left housed the Cornell. The boat house for the Remington is hidden behind, only a bit of its roof showing. The larger building to the right was a Wyckoff skiff house with quarters on second and third floors. A skiff, at left, and an earlier skiff house beyond. The previous owner of the property, J. T. Morrison, built this facility. He retained use of the left half, while the Wyckoffs used the right. The Wyckoffs also had the newer skiff house, seen in the previous photograph. This photograph apparently was taken from its deck. One of the Wyckoff farm barns appears in the distance at the right. Swimming off the dock of the Remington boat house (right) with the Cornell yacht house beyond. Boys swim off a dock at the Remington boat house, with the Cornell yacht house beyond and the Villa tower in the distance. Good times aboard the Cornell. The Ezra Cornell with crew and party. An outing, probably aboard the Cornell. Doris Wyckoff, the youngest of son Clarence's four daughters. Clarence "got stuck" with the inherited Villa. His older brother, Edward, enjoyed a more manageable summer home on the point. The Wyckoff skiff house appears beyond the ramp to a smaller boat house. One of the retaining walls of the Villa garden appears in the left distance. Barbara Wyckoff, eldest of Clarence's daughters, at the play house overlooking South Bay near the retaining wall that created the level terrace.   Carleton Villa as seen on approach from the ferry dock by way of the path through the center of the photograph. South Bay is to the right. An edge of the playground pavilion appears on that side, with tennis courts beyond. The neighboring Millar summer home appears at the left. Cal Vary was the photographer.

Presented by Paul Malo, Summer 2006

Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


jeanette Rangel
Comment by: jeanette Rangel ( )
Left at: 7:48 PM Monday, April 12, 2010
there are so save the something funds why can't we start a SAVE CARLETON ISLAND VILLA. I think enough people got involved maybe it could be saved because soon it will just fade away what a shame that would. History should always be saved. If it was restored it would generate money from everyone wanting to visit the Villa. What do you all think?
Comment by: Lynda
Left at: 10:12 PM Friday, March 11, 2016
Dear God, please, please, someone save, restore, & use this Beautiful, timeless landmark for the people of all the ages.
There are numerous agencies, foundations, government funding for such an endeavor as well as private parties. While we don't understand why this castle, a piece of history unique to the US, was left to the ravages of time, I implore you to reach out to Any & all agencies for help to save & restore this estate!
Jeffrey Schieding
Comment by: Jeffrey Schieding
Left at: 7:03 AM Saturday, March 24, 2018
Are there any existing floor plans for the Wyckoff villa?
Thank you.