Swank Luxe Millionaire's Row Belle Epoch Mansion

Entire home hosted by Shannon

  1. 12 guests
  2. 4 bedrooms
  3. 6 beds
  4. 3 baths
Self check-in
Check yourself in with the lockbox.
Experienced host
Shannon has 106 reviews for other places.
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95% of recent guests rated Shannon 5-star in communication.


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Oh so swank fully intact 1870's Millionaires Row Gould Swaby Estate known for it's showpiece hand painted chinoiserie dining room in the style of Louis Comfort Tiffany it's like dining in the Metropolitan Museum of Art a private escape into the 19th century world of Belle Epoch travel when NYC glitterati like Rockefeller's and Vanderbilt's paid visits from downstate and suffrage movers and shakers like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were considered "friends" of the mansion.

The space
If you're looking for an authentic downtown historic mansion that's part of the feminist movement you found it! Located across the street from the First Presbyterian church where Alice Paul ratified the 19th amendment and founded the ERA in 1923. This mansion's first owner Amelia Gould Swaby was a close friend of Elizabeth Cady Stanton who wrote Susan B. Anthony's speeches and brought the first women's convention to Seneca Falls. The Women's Rights Historic National Park is 3 blocks walk.

If history is not your thing then launch your wine tasting group from the Gould Swaby Estate and at the same time enjoy the once in a lifetime chance to actually live as though you own the entire Gould Pumps Company, for in fact you are about to rent the entire original mansion owned for nearly it's first 100 years by the same Gould's that built the pump company located on Millionaires Row and at 24 Cayuga Street. Every bedroom and the living room is wired for streaming entertainment and the living room even has a sound bar for your entertainment enjoyment. The house also has 5G Wireless throughout and there's a dedicated computer so you can stay fully wired yet be in yesteryear.

You can eat out at one of many enticing restaurants or dine in and make your own culinary magic. In a town famous for women's rights this is a home which has the unique distinction of passing title from it's inception in 1870 to women, so stay in the touchstone to the women's movement. Even Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a frequent visitor and is listed in the obituary of Amelia Gould Swaby (the home's first title holder) as a "close personal friend". Don't just see history, be part of it. For the first time in 150 years the estate is finally open for guests. Be one of the few to enter the Belle Epoch of travel in Upstate New York.

Wine aficionado's this is a great place to headquarter all things Finger Lakes Wine!

To delve into the wine trails nearby the mansion go to cayugalakewinetrail.com where you can arrange for a private tour or meet up with 5 hour wine and dine tour in town. If our 16 lakeside vineyards aren't quite enough have no fear there's another 30+ on the senecalakewine.com or for the ultimate version of wine tasting in the region you might enjoy the unique experience of a charter boat all of which can be handled by a wonderful operator in the area that does everything that makes you want to explore the finger lakes: experiencefingerlakes.com can arrage for these private tours from Ithaca (the south end of Cayuga Lake) and additionally offers tours of Ithaca and even Keuka Lake.

Also all the rage is our own town's new microbrewery Fall Street Brewing Company just a nice two blocks which serves among other local specialties a house brewed Kombucha not to be missed!

Where you'll sleep

Bedroom 1
1 king bed
Bedroom 2
1 queen bed
Bedroom 3
2 double beds

What this place offers

Free parking on premises
Pets allowed
Air conditioning
Patio or balcony
Indoor fireplace

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4.44 out of 5 stars from 9 reviews


Where you’ll be

Seneca Falls, New York, United States

The Gould Swaby estate is the only mansion on "Millionaires Row" with a dual view of the First Presbyterian Church and one of New York State's most photographed landmarks: the Trinity Episcopal Church, spires of which can be glimpsed from the sui generis floor to ceiling windows, which mark the unique architecture of this Second Empire "Gilded Age Showpiece".

The Gould Swaby is a mansion with many secrets, a private enclave for more than a century and a half the estate is now available on Airbnb as Seneca Falls most opulent accommodation, sleeping for a dozen people in four bedrooms; it's a grand step back in time to the Victorian era, where it has been furnished to reflect the tastes of the belle epoch of travel and furnished with art and treasures from around the globe.

And speaking of art: there's the mansion's showpiece golden dining room with a rarely seen authentic 19th century Chinoiserie hand painted gold gilt mural which measures 6 feet high, and stretches nearly 80 feet in length, whose artist is now being identified by Sotheby's in NYC, and like so much of the mansion; it remains shrouded in mystery, for the mansion is really two residences: that which is on the public record and that which remains shrouded in generations of private "captains of industry".

What is public knowledge is that the estate was built in 1870 by Dr. Arthur A Swaby, who is noted as one of five founding members of Gould Pumps in 1868.

The mansion is a once in a lifetime feel for the town that is known as the 'Real Bedford Falls'. It's a rare opportunity to experience first hand how the 'captains of industry' from the 19th century lived a rarified, glorious and privileged life by staying in the mansion that was in fact once owned by one of two founders of Gould Pumps: Dr. Arthur A Swaby, who was the company's cofounder in 1864, and it was in fact Dr. Swaby, who married Seabury S. Smith's daughter Amelia Gould and built for her in 1870 this amazing III empire: Mansard roofed estate that historic records call 'generously setback' a patterned slate roof "going from brackets and latticed arches off the pilasters' where the 'site falls off the rear side to disguise it's true size" which by any standard was enormous and grand given that the property still contains the original carriage house from the late 1800's. Also the master bedroom upstairs, with it's rare 4 post king bed and original gaslighting still intact down to the original frosted glass (though not used) it has like so many features in the house (including built in original shutters) been left in the original intact condition, giving one the opportunity to live in a belle epoch. The master bathroom was once actually the birthing room where Amelia Gould Swaby (eldest daughter of Seabury S. Smith Gould) gave birth to the first heirs and grandchildren of the Gould empire. The home is actually the beginning of town and the end/or depending on how you look at it the beginning of what the book "Images of America: Seneca Falls" states: "Cayuga Street was once known as millionaires row, as the wealthiest families lived in large stately houses on this tree-lined street." What is unique about the Gould Swaby estate is its elevation and upstairs windows which give it a birds eye view of the town of Seneca Falls not afforded other properties on the block. From the mansion's side or front doorstep (you will have exclusive access to both) you are literally at the corner of Trinity/Cayuga Street so you have open access to one of New York's most photographed sites: the Trinity Episcopal Church located directly on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal which is right outside the kitchen door and just beyond the estate's carriage house located on Trinity Lane or if you so choose you can walk out the front door onto Cayuga street and you are directly across the street from another photographic treasure the First Presbyterian Church, so the master suite is truly a masterpiece where one set of windows looks upon the First Presbyterian Church and the other windows look over downtown Seneca Falls and onto the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. All the landmark buildings in town are within easy walking distance, which makes the estate not only exclusive but convenient.

Hosted by Shannon

  1. Joined in December 2018
  • 115 Reviews
  • Identity verified
I am actually a San Francisco California native who has a 2nd home in California. On July 3rd I made an epic "decision" to attend a Tony Robbins seminar in Chicago and place my little NorCal bungalow on Airbnb.

I had decided in the wake of a personal tragedy to literally get in my Jeep, go to Robbins and break some long standing patterns. When you're 53 everything seems long standing, and so I took a leap of faith and placed my own home on Airbnb and set off in my Jeep with a bag full of summer clothes and started driving East.

By the time I finished my seminar my California single unit residence began to book up and the more days I booked the further East I headed.

As my 'That 70's Show' little bungalow filled up I found myself in Seneca Falls entranced by another 70's home, only this time it was from the 1870's and like me it had a storied and epic history.

As a travel writer who has stayed everywhere from J. Paul Getty's bedroom in Lazio to the Monet Suite at the Savoy in London when I did an 'open house' tour of this incredible mansion you are now looking at I decided I was looking at someplace special, a one of a kind; bona-fide Grade A historic mansion originally built by one of the five founding members of Gould Pumps and it was 'on the market'?!

By the time I made my way to the historic society in town to research the mansion I was already entranced just by the architecture (the house spoke to the part of me that loves the boulevards of Paris) and I learned why: it's built in the Second Empire style popularized by Napolean III when he widened the boulevards and Paris became the 'City of Lights'.

When I learned the 'secret history' not included in the realtor's description I was further drawn to this estate's amazing history; because for nearly 100 years it was passed from one female in the Gould family to another, and upon further research I learned that in 1964 this mansion actually made front page local news?!

According to newspaper accounts (which you can read about when you check in) the place made major history in New York when the heiress to the Gould fortune; one Alice Gould Swaby Knapp at the age of 91 passed and instead of keeping the mansion and the bulk of her estate within the family she did something remarkable. She left if all; EVERYTHING to a working class nurse named Bertha Nash from Queens New York.

Who was this Bertha I wondered?

I read further and learned that during a hospitilization at Clifton Springs the original owner of this estate Amelia Gould Swaby (whose obituary actually listed Elizabeth Cady Stanton as a close friend ) had become attached to a young attending nurse of low birth rank, and from that moment on the last heiress to the Gould fortune: Alice Gould Swaby Knapp was so taken with the nurse that she virtually adopted her as a member of the family.

Amelia Gould Swaby and Alice traveled the globe, and like you would expect in the day of wealth and privilage when the Gould's traveled it wasn't for a week, or a month, but for the season: they were travelers and members of the Belle epoch. They represented the 'Gilded Era' and that included this very mansion back on the 'continent' and so I felt I had found a home that was bespoke of a grand era lost and to my delight rediscovered.

I learned the home was not just filled with works of art, but it contained a work of art.

What the real estate agency described as fancy wallpaper in the dining room was in fact something quite different; it was an authentic 1800's Chinoiserie mural painstakingly painted over not only hundreds, but thousands of hours!

I felt like I had discovered the titanic on the bottom of the Atlantic a true lost treasure, and so began (and continues) my research. As it turns out when you dine in grand style in the dining room sit as though you are in a museum, because you virtually are inside your own L'Ouvre.

My research has revealed that the mural may have a famous painter; it was in fact commissioned by a Gould and back in that day Seabury S. Gould was on the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

So as you check in definitely check out the dining room. I have, and so is Sotheby's in New York City, for in an effort to guage the true orgins of the dining room it remains an ongoing mystery I endeavor to solve.

If you appreciate art, like myself look at the North Wall and look closely in the grass to the right of the little sappling willow tree and see if you can identify the artist.

Though it currently is 'under investigation' what I can tell you about chinoiserie is that it has become so in vogue that even to add modern day wall paper in such a style costs thousands and at auction the real thing is bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars as people with 'old houses' sadly tear down works of art from their walls and place them for auction.

If you're a Londoner like Kate Moss you might commission a private artist for hundred's of thousands of dollars to get a look which mimics what is actually the grand dining room of this estate. You're gazing upon the 'real deal'.

When I learned of the mural and the mansion's history I endeavored decorate it in a style and using authentic antiques from Eastlake to Hepplewhite which would have Victorian flair and artistic appeal.

From hand carved pedestals topped in marble to original oils on canvas the mansion oozes a bygone 'Gatsby-esque' era and when you spend a night or two or more you too are entering a time gone by yet with all the modern conveniences.

From the mundane things like the red Kitchenaid mixer on the granite countertops in the kitchen and the Whirlpool washer and dryer in the laundry room which stand side by side on pedestals in the 'laundry room' the house has American engineering.

The bedrooms are centered around just that beds that aren't just beautiful to look at, but ooze luxury with their pillow tops and European feather beds atop each matress.

The hardwood floors are flung with sheepskin rugs and the living room chesterfield's would make Sherlock Holmes and Watson quite comfortable.

Every bedroom also has its own entertainment system, as does the living room which features a 57" flatscreen with a Toshiba Sound Bar so you can have cinematic experience right under the original golden chandelier.

Walls feature antique hand tinted prints and original oil paintings on canvas and mirrors with hand carved wood gilt gathered from around the globe, which if you're in Seneca Falls for work are a nice distraction while you're working on the latest touch screen HP in the 'office nook'. A balance of old world charm with new age technology.

A stay at the mansion is more than just a night at a hotel, or even a top notch Airbnb; it's a once in a lifetime experience to spend the night in a mansion which once housed not just 'captains of industry' but drove more than an industrial revolution, but a social one as well.

Where else, but Seneca Falls and the Gould Swaby mansion could you stay the night in a home which according to the book "The Gould Pump Story" (a copy is in the mansion) has the irony of being held in majority ownership by a group of women.

So the history of the mansion, I believe once you dive in will entrance you as it did me and while you walk to the Women's National Historical Park think back to the clomping of hooves and maybe even kick up your heels and crack a mystery by Rochester writer Miriam Grace Monfredo.

She so fell in love with the area that she based an entire series of mysteries (Seneca Falls Series) with a fictional female librarian Glynis Tryon solving a murder mystery which is set in 1848 Seneca Falls and takes place during the world's very real first Women's Rights Convention.

So you see, in a town famous for industry (Seneca Falls once was the fire engine and knitting mill capital) still to this day the town doesn't just harken to the Golden Era it remains Goulden, as in Gould Pumps, which to from it's inception in 1848 to the present day remains the 'Gold Standard' in the pump world.

And that is a world which you can actually witness in old tintype prints on the walls of the mansion's 'Captains of Industry' suite downstairs or hike up to the second story and sleep in the grand corner suite in which Amelia Gould Swaby once long ago birthed the eldest grandchild of the pump factory's namesake in what was once a birthing room, but is now a steam room.

So, as you can see the mansion is really not just a place to stay, but a place to live a piece of history; both real and storied, for lastly I mention another American Classic: It's a Wonderful Life.

If you've watched the movie and read the clips then you know another bit of inside information; Seneca Falls is the mythical Bedford Falls made famous by another fictional tale, and this one made the silver screen as: "It's a Wonderful Life"

So as you watch the movie keep in mind that the mansion doesn't just have all the 'real' history I just spoke of, it also has the stuff of Hollywood magic, for the mansion looks an awful lot like the "Granville" estate which Jimmy Stewart's character George Bailey buys for his fictional family at 320 Sycamore Street...

So you see, the mansion is both epic for it's real position at the end of Millionaire's Row but it may in fact be the stuff of Hollywood legend as archetype for Frank Capra's classic Granville Estate in It's a Wonderful Life.

Whether you choose to focus on the real history in the books, or book a room for a once in a lifetime Hollywood 'experience' anyway you cut it 24 Cayuga Street is a place that the real American dream did in fact unfold, all of which you can read about in the "house manual" when you check into a mansion that is storied in every sense of the word.


Shannon Willitts Falk; the 'carrier-on-er of the Gould Swaby story...
I am actually a San Francisco California native who has a 2nd home in California. On July 3rd I made an epic "decision" to attend a Tony Robbins seminar in Chicago and place my li…

During your stay

I am always available by text and when I am in town the old ballroom serves as my private residence and but my writing atelier, and that entryway too is separate from the 'big mansion' but if I am in town and you want a guided tour of the mansion I am happy to oblige and to give you personal favorites, or you can consult my detailed home manual with written recommendations.
I am always available by text and when I am in town the old ballroom serves as my private residence and but my writing atelier, and that entryway too is separate from the 'big mans…
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Things to know

House rules

Check-in: 4:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Checkout: 11:00 AM
Self check-in with lockbox
Not suitable for infants (under 2 years)
No smoking
Pets are allowed

Health & safety

Airbnb's COVID-19 safety practices apply
Nearby lake, river, other body of water
Carbon monoxide alarm
Smoke alarm

Cancellation policy