Created By: The History Center in Tompkins County
Greystone Mansion, today the headquarters of the Cornell branch of Sigma Chi Fraternity, was once the home of international screen star and fashion icon Irene Castle and her husband Robert Treman of the well-known local Treman family.
The house features an expansive garden and pool which was, during Castle and Treman's tenure, filled with sea water brought in-- at Castle's request -- in barrels from the East Coast. After several days and a few swims, Ms. Castle would apparently have someone pull the plug at the bottom of the pool, the water would cascade down Kline Road and the next saltwater shipment would arrive and the pool re-filled.
Greystone was featured in a film called A Romance of the Air, shot in Ithaca in 1918 and produced by Carl E. Carleton. This adventure film was loosely based on the autobiography of Lt. Bert Hall, an American WWI flying ace with the famed French Lafayette Escadrilles. Hall starred in the film alongside acclaimed musical actress Edith Day. Lt. Hall introduced the film at screenings throughout the country and it premiered in New York City on November 11, 1918 -- Armistice Day -- and was shown at Ithaca's Strand Theatre in March of 1919.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Wharton Studio Silent Film Tour