The Langdon Era (1840-1894)
After Hosack's death, his heirs broke up the estate into smaller parcels. In 1840, John Jacob Astor purchased the main part (540 acres) for $42,000 and gave it to his daughter, Dorothea Langdon and her 5 children. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the original Bard mansion in 1845. They then hired architect Platt of New York City to design a new mansion, which was built on the site of the original building.
After his father's death, Walter Langdon, Jr. became the sole owner of the estate and began the process of repurchasing the remaining parcels from Dr. Hosack's heirs. By 1872, the estate was almost entirely reunited.
The Langdon's were not full-time residents of the Hyde Park estate. By this time, it was fashionable for the wealthy to spend different 'seasons' in New York City, Newport and Europe. Despite this, Langdon made numerous important changes to the estate, especially in the gardens.
First, he relocated the garden area farther away from the main house and constructed a red brick wall around the parameter. The garden was laid out on three levels, along a hillside overlooking the Crum Elbow Creek. Although the details and design of the garden have changed since then, the location and general layout of the garden remains the same. Langdon also hired architects, Sturgis and Brigham of Boston to construct a gardener's cottage and tool house. The buildings, as well as the garden walls still exist and are in use today. A large conservatory and greenhouses were also constructed. Later, they would be removed by the Vanderbilt's and replaced by more modern structures. Despite this, Walter Langdon, Jr. established the location and character of gardens, which survives.