LeGrand Lockwood (1820 - 1872)
began his career on Wall street at the age of 18 as a clerk for a brokerage
firm. By 1857 he had formed his own banking firm, Lockwood & Co., and was
subsequently elected Treasurer of the New York Stock Exchange. He successfully
promoted the sale of U.S. war bonds abroad and became involved in the
railroad and steamship businesses which helped him to become one the country's
In 1842, Lockwood married Anna Louisa Benedict of New York and Norwalk. They had 8 children, five of whom survived to adulthood. The three oldest sons, LeGrand, Jr., Henry Benedict and Williston joined their father in the brokerage and banking business.
In 1863 LeGrand Lockwood returned to his boyhood home of Norwalk, CT to purchase 30 acres of land on which to build his country "cottage". At the time he purchased the land on West Ave, Norwalk, Lockwood had a new Horse Railroad running from the South Norwalk Station to the center of town. The tracks for the Norwalk-Danbury Railroad, in which Lockwood was controlling stockholder, ran parallel to the Norwalk River, bordering Lockwood's property. Designed by European- trained, New York-based architect Detlef Lienau, the mansion, which was completed in 1868, is considered his most significant work. American craftsmen, along with many immigrant artisans, were employed to execute construction of the grand castle which cost nearly $2 million to build.
Work on Lockwood's Norwalk estate was almost finished
when he moved into Elm Park in 1869. On September 24th that year (known as
"Black Friday") the price of gold dropped tremendously, causing scores
of brokerage houses to be ruined. Lockwood & Co. was unfortunately among
them. Lockwood was forced to mortgage his estate in order to pay back his
creditors. He was able to get his firm back on its feet, but in doing so he had
to sell his $10 million worth of stock in the Lake Shore and Michigan Railroad
to Commodore Vanderbilt. The mortgage on his new house was later transferred
from the Union Trust Co. to the Lake Shore & Michigan Railroad, then under
Lockwood lived in his country home for only four years when he contracted pneumonia in 1872 and died within 10 days. He was only 52 years old. His widow sold off his vast art collection and "objects d'art" at auction in April. A year later, she advertised the Mansion for sale in the New York papers, but she was unable to meet the payments of the outstanding mortgage balance and in December 1874, the Lake Shore & Michigan Railroad foreclosed.
Information and image originally from http://www.lockwoodmathews.org but site no longer exists.