Louis Stern was deeply affected by the death of his beloved wife and he went into a deep period of mourning, dressing in all black and rarely being seen in the public. This all changed in 1887 when he commissioned the architectural firm of Schickel & Ditmars to design him a residence on a plot of land located at 993 Fifth Avenue.
Louis Stern Was A Quiet And Kind Man, Although He Was A Stronghold In The Republican Party And Served As It's Delegate
Louis's Son, Irving C. Stern, Married Aliss Ruth Brandeis, The Driving Force Behind The Decoration Of The Interior Of The Mansion
Once the house was completed, it was said to have cost some $1 million and the Stern family quickly moved in. It became one of the city's leading tourist attractions and not a week went by where the Stern's didn't hold an event there.
The floor plan of the house was centered, like many fifth avenue mansions, around entertaining. The ground floor contained the drawing room, entrance hall, reception room, dining room, conservatory, ballroom (which was also an art gallery) and the pantries. The second floor held the library, music room, sitting room, a bedroom and the master suite. The upper floors held bedrooms, bathrooms and servant's rooms.
The Floor Plans Of The First And Second Floors. From "Architecture 1901" Courtesy of "Beyond The Gilded Age"
The interiors were some of the most sumptuous in city, with french antique furniture and rare vases and paintings. Aliss Stern had supervised the decoration of the home, as she and her husband intended to live their as well, and was said to have been handed a blank check by her father-in-law to cover the cost of the interior, which she planned to go all out on. She did a good job.
Entertainments at the mansion were regularly held, with Aliss acting as hostess, and when they were held they were large. When he wasn't entertaining, Louis was running his giant charitable empire, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Besides charity he also gave generously to the Republican Party and even served as a delegate, without his support The National Republican Club wouldn't have had a home.
When Stern wanted to retire to his Long Island estate, he sold to estate to the Hugo Reisingers, who quickly moved in. Hugo hung it's walls with his large collection of German artwork and statuary. The ballroom was turned into an art gallery and was never used anymore for dancing. Shortly after moving in Hugo died, while having breakfast in his room.
Hugo left all of his art to various museums and left his home and a fortune to his wife, along with several charitable contributions. She soon married Major Charles Greenough and they settled in at the mansion.
Mrs. Reisinger sold the mansion and settled into a cozy apartment in the building across the street from her. She had sold the townhouse to developers for some $3 million and had put all the furnishings (the same furnishings that had belonged to the Sterns who had sold them with the house) in storage. In 1929 the home was razed and replaced with another skyscraper. After Mrs. Reisinger's death the mansion's furnishings (still in storage) were auctioned off for some $50,000.