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Standard Extravagance

When the treasurer of Standard Oil, Col. Oliver Hazard Payne, decided to build himself a mansion on the banks of the Hudson, he spared no expense. The famed architecture firm of Carrere and Hastings were enlisted to produce the structure, four hundred laborers completed the home in record time, and soft French limestone was used for the exterior. When told that stone wouldn't last twenty years, Payne "supposedly replied that it didn't matter whether it lasted or not, since in twenty years he'd be dead." [Big Old Houses]