See Inside the Rockefeller Family's Historic Playhouse

Built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. for his family in 1927, it was just donated the U.S. National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Although Kykuit, the main home on the Rockefeller estate in the Hudson Valley, is now open to the public for tours, another building on the property has remained in the family's hands for years—until now.

The "Playhouse," as it's known, is a two-story, Tudor-style building that John D. Rockefeller, Jr. built in 1927 as a place for his family members to gather, host events, and simply have a good time.

The bowling alley

Located alongside a nine-hole golf course, the Playhouse includes an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball court, squash court, billiards room, and bowling alleys. Essentially, it's a tricked-out country club with only the Rockefeller family as members.

The pool

This week, though, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced that the Playhouse and other guest houses and surrounding land from the Rockefeller estate will become part of the Pocantico Center as part of a bequest from David Rockefeller.

More than 270 members of the Rockefeller family have gathered there twice annually for meetings and will continue to do so under a lease with the National Trust. Before his death, David Rockefeller and other members the family established a fund to support the preservation and maintenance of the storied family building.

"For over a century, the Rockefeller family has found a home in Pocantico Hills and the surrounding community, for which we will always feel deep respect, gratitude, and love," said David Rockefeller, Jr. "It was there that my father and his brothers cultivated their passions: the environment, historic preservation, international engagement, and the arts. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, founded in a meeting at the Playhouse, is one way in which their extraordinary legacy lives on. It seems only fitting, then, that my father would leave this place, which nurtures each of these passions, under the care of the Fund for both the local community and the global good."


The property will be owned by the National Trust and managed by the Pocantico Center, which is a venue for meetings and conferences operated by the aforementioned Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a philanthropic organization founded by the sons of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1940. In addition to Kykuit, the Center currently encompasses the Marcel Breuer House, the Coach Barn, the Orangerie, the encircling gardens, and other lands under a similar agreement.

So while the above photographs show the Playhouse as the family kept and benefitted from it for decades, the current plan is to adapt it for meetings and conferences. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and launch event is scheduled to take place at the Pocantico Center in September.

A vintage illustration

*This story originally appeared on
*Minor edits have been made by the editors

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