The Expression "Keeping Up With The Joneses" Was Inspired By A Real Family

In 1853, a wealthy Manhattan socialite named Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones purchased 80 acres of land overlooking the Hudson River in Rhinebeck, New York. The daughter of Edward Renshaw Jones, a prosperous merchant, and Elizabeth Schermerhorn, the heir to a wealthy family, Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones was so rich that she was able to spare no expense in her construction on that land.

The mansion she commissioned, called Wyndclyffe, housed 24 rooms over 7,690 square feet and was punctuated by castle-like arches, towers, and ostentatious details such as Tiffany skylights. The mansion was so grand that it's believed to have prompted a building boom, goading wealthy neighbors into remodeling, expanding, and building their own mansions to compete with the estate. Legend has it that this is how the colloquial saying "keeping up with the Joneses" was born.

Jones died in 1876. The mansion changed hands among various owners since then, falling further and further into disrepair until 2016, when it was sold at auction for a measly $120,000. Letting your home fall into disrepair? Anyone can keep up with that.

Wyndclyffe Mansion

Wyndclyffe Mansion Sells At Auction

How the mighty have fallen.

A Drone's-Eye View Of Wyndcliffe Mansion

See the abandoned castle from the sky.

Written by Curiosity Staff October 18, 2016

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