In the 1920s, Otto Herman Kahn built his masterpiece in Huntington. He trucked in earth to build a high vantage point from which he could see Cold Spring Harbor, and on it built a stately home modeled after a French chateau. It was then, and remains the second largest private residence built in the United States. Having been rebuffed from membership in country clubs because, at the time, the private clubs did not admit Jews, he built his own golf course around his castle. Otto Kahn overcame obstacles to build what has been come to be known as the world renowned Oheka Castle. It is on the National Historic Registry.
But after his death in 1934, the property passed through several hands and fell into disrepair. The castle stood as a derelict and abandoned building, a white elephant that should have been torn down as many of the old grand homes of the Gold Cost had been.
Enter Gary Melius. In Melius, Otto Kahn found a friend who saw the home not as the blighted and crumbling dinosaur that is was, but as a piece of our collective past that needed to be preserved for future generations. Melius started a long, costly restoration. Not only the internal guts had to be repaired or replaced, so did the furnishings. The scale of the castle made buying everything in it a challenge. Finding furniture the size and splendor befitting a castle takes took time, thought, effort and money.
Through all of the ups and downs, Melius restored and now owns a piece of our history that he shares with the community. During his journey he has used the castle to raise and give millions to charity. Melius never lost focus on giving back. He’s a man of the people and for the people.
Like Otto Kahn, Melius is a smart and capable businessman who can see the value in our history.
Enter Stanley C. Gale, a visionary whose family is firmly rooted in Huntington. The Gale family is as much a part of the town’s story as the Kahn and Melius families are. Gale’s grandfather started the Daniel Gale real estate agency in 1922, and in 1985, Stan Gale founded Gale International, building a name as a respected and successful global development company. Under his guidance, his company developed the Korean city, Songdo. This is a technologically advanced city that has been heralded as one of the world’s first “green” cities.
Gale is more than just a successful businessman and respected developer, he is a believer in families. Throughout all of his successes, Gale never forgot his home and what this town means to the families that live here.
Enter Jack Nicklaus, the “Golden Bear” of the golf world. Recognized as a world figure and the greatest golfer to ever play the game, he is also acknowledged as one of the world's great designers of golf courses. In his Nicklaus Companies, his family rounds out a very successful management team. Jack Nicklaus knows the value of a good golf game, how to design a great course, and how important family is in his life.
Now we have the Melius, Gale and Nicklaus families coming together around the stately home that first housed the Kahn family, to build something great. There will be more information to follow as they move into the project, but it is important to remember, we have three great families deeply invested into keeping Huntington a place that all families can be proud to call home.