FDU Mansion Recognized as 8th Largest

One of the most iconic sites on any of Fairleigh Dickinson’s four campuses – the Twombly Estate, which is now known as Hennessy Hall – recently has been recognized by The Active Times as the eight largest mansion in the United States.

As anyone who attended FDU’s Florham campus undoubtedly knows, the Mansion has a very impressive pedigree. Built for Florence Adele Vanderbilt and her husband, Hamilton McKown Twombly and inspired by a wing of Henry VIII Hampton Court Palace, the Mansion was finished in 1899, the 100-room Georgian-style masterpiece was designed in the 1890s by Stanford White, and replicates a wing in Henry VIII's Hampton Court. It features gardens originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York’s Central Park, imported Renaissance-era fireplaces, and a heating system that was designed by Thomas Edison. Most of its interior decorations (such as staircases and fireplaces) are in Italian marble, worked by Italian craftsmen. Florence lived in the mansion until her death in 1952 at which time many of the interior furnishings were gifted to the White House, and some remain there today. In 1967, the mansion and 178 acres of land were sold to Fairleigh Dickinson University

Today, Hennessy contains classrooms and administrative offices. It is also the home of the chestnut-paneled Hartman Lounge (the former billiard room) and Lenfell Hall, then a ballroom and drawing room, now used for meetings and special events.

The Friends of Florham, begun in 1990 by members of the FDU community and interested historic preservationists, advises and assists in the care, maintenance, and historic preservation of the Twombly Estate, and is responsible for a variety of restoration and preservation projects.

Click here to learn more about the Friends of Florham.