The story of Old Westbury goes back prior to the turn of the century when William C. Whitney, then Secretary of the Navy, purchased the property and built the estate and tower in 1887. He also built the stables which housed many great thoroughbred horses.
In 1904 the estate passed on to his son Harry Payne Whitney who also maintained a string of horses, one of which won the 1915 Kentucky Derby. Gloria Vanderbilt lived on the estate during the 1930s. The estate was inherited by Cornelius Vanderbilt “Sonny” Whitney in 1942. He demolished the old mansion and that same year built the mansion which has become the Old Westbury clubhouse.
In 1961, the newly-formed Old Westbury Golf & Country Club purchased 200 acres of the estate, including the mansion house, tennis house, polo buildings, stables and tower.
In addition to 27 holes of golf over three nines - Blue Grass, Overlook and Woods - Old Westbury members enjoy one indoor and 14 outdoor tennis courts and two outdoor swimming pools. The tower serves as the club’s insignia and has been used as a beacon, a watchtower during World War II, and a windmill with blades once considered the largest in the world.