‘Keeping Up With the Joneses’ Home Sells for Shockingly Low Price

The expression “keeping up with the Joneses” describes our infatuation with surpassing—or at the very least, matching—the prosperity of our neighbours. But did you realise that this proverb actually came from a real house? Wyndclyffe Castle is situated near Rhinebeck, New York. In any case, how desirable is this location? Not really that much, though. It sold for a pitiful $120,000, in fact. Yes, you read it correctly. If you are familiar with Rhinebeck, an affluent town in the Hudson Valley where the median list price of a property is often much higher at $359,000, this is even weirder.

How then could a castle that once set nearby residents into a competitive frenzy have lost so much of its value?

Let’s go back to 1853, the year Wyndclyffe was constructed. This 24-room Gothic mansion was an absolute marvel in those days. Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones, a Manhattan socialite and the aunt of American author Edith Wharton, a chronicler of upper-class New York society, lived at this rural estate. The wealthy people of New York constructed more elaborate holiday houses in the Hudson Valley at the time, but Wyndclyffe set the standard. Property tycoon William B. Astor built one of the larger, nicer megamansions in the neighbourhood as a result of the 80-acre estate.

But surely no one is ever truly in the lead? We believe it is obvious where this is headed. Following the Joneses’ departure, Wyndclyffe gradually deteriorated under other owners until being abandoned in the 1950s. Subsequently, the arched windows were covered with boards, and significant sections of the structure even collapsed. There are several warning signs regarding the hazardous circumstances outside the residence, which has been gated off.

The most recent owner of the house, who purchased Wyndclyffe in 2003, spent $150,000 renovating it before giving up.

“Hudson Valley Ruins,” which covers Wyndclyffe, co-author Robert Yasinsac, states that “a very large percent of the interior of Wyndclyffe has collapsed.” “Should a buyer wish to restore the house as a livable building, the structure would require extensive stabilisation and reconstruction.”

According to Yasinsac, “the amount of money needed to satisfy creditors to the previous owner may also reflect in the sale price.” “However, I’m just speculating.”

All of which is a fancy way of saying that it shouldn’t be too difficult to maintain this house right now. Nevertheless, let’s hope that it will someday revert to its previous grandeur. It is, after all, a part of the history of the Hudson Valley and has an enduring position in popular culture. If we weren’t comparing ourselves to our neighbours and glancing about, where would we be?

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