The White House at Shinnecock Hills

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The man who designed Shinnecock Hills’ elegant, shingle-style clubhouse was Stanford White. Born in New York in 1953, White never trained as an architect but rode his passion for the discipline to a plum job working for the celebrated architect Henry Richardson. He later crossed the Atlantic to study the great architectural styles of Europe. On his return to the US, he joined forces with Charles McKim and William Mead.

Something of a bon viveur, White is said to have been a member of some 50 New York social clubs at one point. A friend of the rich and famous, he was the mansion designer of choice for the über wealthy in New York and the Hamptons on Long Island. White also designed several great monuments and public buildings, including the Washington Square Arch, the second iteration of Madison Square Garden and
Grand Central Station.  

White’s lust for life was part of his persona but in 1906 his past indiscretions caught up with him when the jealous husband of a woman he had seduced when she was 16 shot and killed him during a performance of Mam’zelle Champagne at Madison Square Garden. White’s reputation took a beating as his dirty laundry was aired during the murder trial but he remains a notable figure as the man who designed America’s first, and perhaps its finest, clubhouse.

Nick Wright