H. B. Hollins

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H. B. Hollins
Born Harry Bowly Hollins
1854
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died February 24, 1938(1938-02-24)[1]
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Financier, banker
Spouse(s) Evelina Merseole Knapp
Children McKim Hollins, John K. Hollins, Gerald Vanderbilt Hollins, H. B. Hollins, Jr. and Marion Hollins
Parents Francis Hollins and Elizabeth Coles Morris
H.B.Hollins Sr. His man (servant) giving a shoe shine & Miss Marion Hollins 1903 Tillman SC

Harry Bowly "H. B." Hollins (1854 – February 24, 1938) was an American financier, banker, and railroad magnate. He was responsible for organizing the banking and brokerage firm bearing his name, H.B. Hollins & Co. in 1878.

Life and business[edit]

He was born to Francis Hollins and Elizabeth Coles Morris. Hollins, a native New Yorker educated in private schools, was married to socialite Evelina Merseole Knapp on January 25, 1877. The couple had four sons, Harry B. Jr., McKim (Kim), John K. (Jack), Gerald Vanderbilt,[2] and a daughter, Marion. Colloquially known as HBH or HB. He was notable in New York society life. Members of the Hollins family were socially prominent figures and were regularly mentioned in the New York Times social diary.

Hollins resided between Manhattan at his multiple town residences and at his 600-acre (2.4 km2) country estate, Meadow Farm in East Islip, Long Island. Hollins entertained family and friends at Meadow Farm each summer and early autumn; these renowned guests to summer at the estate included Hollins' friend, the future King Edward VIII. Meadow Farm is also believed to be the birthplace of his children. His family's residences, mainly the East Islip mansion were said to contain many valuable paintings and rare objects of art.

Hollins began business as a marine insurance broker, and became a banker in 1888. At one time he was a partner of Fernando Iznaga, whose sister Maria Consuelo Iznaga Clement was the Dowager Duchess of Manchester. In fact, he was along with close friend William K. Vanderbilt, the executors of Iznaga's will. Along with Eugene Zimmerman of Cincinnati, Ohio, the father of the Duchess of Manchester, had owned an interest in a number of properties in the Midwest. These properties included Superior Colliery Company and Superior Development Company.

J. P. Morgan and H. B. Hollins were also business partners and the closest of friends until the former's death. In fact Morgan's offices were located across the street from H. B. Hollins & Co.'s exclusive banking offices, at the southwest corner of Wall and Broad Streets. On November 13, 1913, H.B. Hollins & Co., one of Wall Street's most highly regarded houses failed in debt of $5,000,000. The failure of the house was related to a number of issues including the Company letting their Stock Exchange business go adrift, paying more attention to floatation of new companies and to banking operations in addition to their expenses boring them down. After the news of the firm failure had spread through the financial district, Hollin's attorney's Beekman, Menken & Griscom released a press statement downplaying the collapse:

The failure was due to withdrawal of large deposits, thus greatly reducing the firm's working capital, which is largely invested in securities which cannot be readily sold in the present market.

A large portion of the securities was understood on the Street to represent a number of companies in Mexico that were adversely impacted by political turmoil south of the border at the time. These enterprises were thought to include Mexican Crude Oil, Asphaltic Products Company, and United States Asphalt Company. Harry B. Hollins belonged to the Union Metropolitan, South Side Sportsmen's, Knickerbocker Club, New York Yacht, Meadow Brook, Racquet and Tennis, Riding, and Garden City Golf Clubs, also the Automobile Club of America.

Hollins' great-great-grandson, through his son Gerald Vanderbilt Hollins,[3] is actor Justin Theroux.[4][5]

Meadow Farm and East Islip[edit]

After Hollins' bankruptcy, Meadow Farm, the country manor, was sold to Charles L. Lawrance along with 116 acres (0.47 km2) bordering the Great South Bay and Champlin Creek. The family renovated one of the farmhouses on the northern portion of the approximately 480 acres (1.9 km2) remaining to which they relocated. After the death of Mrs. H. B. Hollins, a month after her husband, her daughter Marion as the administrator of the estate sold most of the property not utilized by the family.

Meadow Farm was demolished in 2002/03 as part of the Harbour View project. This project was completion of The Moorings, a wealthy gated community by the subdividing Meadow Farm's remaining 16 acres (65,000 m2) into 11 lots. The purchaser of the 5.88-acre (23,800 m2) parcel (now 150 Meadowfarm Road) containing Meadow Farm learned the cost of refurbishing the mansion would have well exceeded $1 million and opted to replace it with a newer estate. According to a New York Times article written in 1999, the new estate's owner planned to salvage marble fireplaces, panelling and other appurtenances from the mansion.

Remnants of Hollins' Meadow Farm can still be found off of Dock Road, including the original gates now leading to a small community named after the family, Hollins Estates. The once private road leading to the manor house was named Hollins Lane. The Hollins' stable and clock tower remains as a residential house at 37 Blackmore Lane. A carriage house, located west of Meadowfarm Road and last used as a residence, was demolished in the late 1980s to make way for a subdivision. At 35 Blackmore Lane is what was believed to have been the estate manager's (Blackmore) house, which had been moved from another location nearby.

At 42 Blackmore Lane is a structure on a 5-acre (20,000 m2) parcel which also belonged to Hollins. It was the renovated farmhouse they relocated to after parting with Meadow Farm. Harvard Class books from the 1930s were found in the house in the 1980s - a member of the Hollins family was pictured in those books.

A company, Yarmouth Estates of Bay Shore, New York, has purchased the house at 42 Blackmore and is requesting a subdivision. Harry Hollins Jr.'s estate house, designed by the architectural firm of Cross & Cross and built in 1907, remains at 18 Crick Holly Lane and Gerald Hollins' home remains at 180 Bayview Avenue. The carriage house for Gerard Hollins' house still stands at 158 Bayview Ave and is now used as a private residence. Gerald Hollins later built a home on White Oak Lane, which still stands and is now the visitor's center for the South Shore Nature Center.

Another Hollins' house, that of Robert L. Hollins, stands on the border of Hecksher State Park. That house is believed to have been one of the earliest houses in the area, originally part of the Nichol farm. It is now owned by the East Islip School District and is used for special education services.

A private road once ran across all of the Hollins holdings, crossing Bayview Ave and through the estate of HB Hollins Jr., where it continued into what is now Hecksher State Park. The outline of this road can be seen running through the woods on one of the last undeveloped parcels of land off White Oak Lane. As recently as the 1980s, one area resident was concerned as the road was still listed as a legal right-of-way in his property deed.

The town has named several things in the family's honour. Most notable is Hollins Memorial Beach, which the family generously donated to the town.

Hollins, along with members of his family, are interred at the Episcopal Church Cemetery in Great River, NY.

Hollins Island[edit]

Hollins purchased an island approximately three and a half miles south of Meadow Farm and about a mile north of mainland Fire Island in the Great South Bay. The family used the island primarily for hunting before his bankruptcy, and some speculate that they contemplated the erection of a grand estate on the bay. The island retains the name Hollins Island, however it is sometimes referenced as East Fire Island (not to be confused with East Island, an island succumbed to the sea off Hollins Island's northeast shore) or Middle Island.

The island was originally owned by William Nicoll who purchased the property on November 19, 1687 from Winnequaheagh Sachem of Connetquot. The purchase was confirmed on a patent by Governor Dongan on June 4, 1688. Harry B. Hollins purchased the island in 1906 from the estate of Sarah Nicoll and presented it to three of his sons, Messers. Gerald, John, and McKim Hollins.

Legend tells that the island was a hideaway for pirates' gold, most notably Captain Kidd's buried treasure of the Spanish Main. Due to this legend, the island was also referred to as Money Island and was the site of many excavations by treasure seekers.

Office locations[edit]

  • 15 Wall Street, New York City
  • 18 Wall Street, New York City

Residential locations[edit]

  • Meadow Farm, the family's country seat, East Islip
  • 12 West 56th Street, New York City
  • 14 East 60th Street, New York City

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HARRY B. HOLLINS, 84, LONG A BROKER HERE; Organizer of Firm Bearing His Name, Active in Banking Since 1870, Is Dead". The New York Times. February 25, 1938. Retrieved October 14, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Marriage Announcement 1 -- No Title". The New York Times. November 19, 1909. 
  3. ^ "Gerald V. Hollins". The New York Times. November 30, 1955. 
  4. ^ "HollinsGrissim". The New York Times. December 6, 1935. 
  5. ^ Contemporary Authors New Revision Series: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to ... - Gale Group - Google Books. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2012-08-23. 

External links[edit]