Thursday, December 15, 2005
On this date, December 15, 1913, construction was supposed to be finished on the home of George Edward Kent and his wife Lillias Grace Kent at the Long Island hamlet of Jericho in the town of Oyster Bay, New York. But Kent and his builders, Jacob & Youngs, had agreed to additional work, so they subsequently agreed to a contract modification extending the completion date indefinitely. It was going to be an expensive house: about $80,000 for construction. (That's about $1.5 million today using the consumer price index, but $24 million using relative share of GDP.) After construction was finished, of course, a dispute would arise because the contractor used the wrong pipe, leading to the decision one of Cardozo's tours-de-force in Jacob & Youngs v. Kent.
Jericho at the time was a rural hamlet of less than 600 people, chiefly Quaker farmers. (Pictured: Two scenes of Jericho, 1909). It lay on the Jericho Turnpike, an ancient road that connected Jamaica to New York City, which made it convenient for a lawyer like Kent who kept an office in the City. Other famous residents found the area pleasant, including Theodore Roosevelt, whose Summer White House was at nearby Sagamore Hill.
The Kent residence has not survived. Some information about it, including an image of the site plan, is available from the Philadelphia Athanaeum's web site, which reports that the building, including the extensive gardens by the Olmstead Brothers, were subsequently demolished.