Harold Stirling Vanderbilt: Meet the man behind Manalapan

It was 1930 when Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, the great-grandson of shipping and railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, left Palm Beach and headed south to an undeveloped area, now known as Manalapan. He purchased 500 square feet of property and created Manalapan’s first estate, which he dubbed “Eastover.” Not long after, Manalapan was born.

Manalapan becomes a town

In 1931, Vanderbilt filed to incorporate the Town of Manalapan and, subsequently, became the town’s inaugural mayor. Though at that time he was the only Vanderbilt in Manalapan, his sister, Consuelo, followed suit in 1934. She built her own mansion on Hypoluxo Island, right across the water from Harold’s Eastover mansion.

Harold Vanderbilt, the man

Having been born into great wealth, Harold grew up in Vanderbilt mansions, frequently vacationed to Europe and sailed the globe on yachts owned by his father. Harold’s love of yachting began at a young age, and he competed in that craft long into adulthood. Between 1922 and 1938, he won six “King’s Cups” and five “Astor Cups.” Perhaps his greatest win came when defending “America’s Cup” in 1930, an event which he would be directly involved with for many more years to come.

In addition to competitive yachting, Vanderbilt was also a card game enthusiast. He was successful with this hobby as well, winning two North American Bridge Championships and finishing once as the runner-up.

While the town of Manalapan was founded by one of the most historic families in history, it continues to embody traits such as success, wealth, and distinction. If you’re looking to learn more about Manalapan’s history from a local expert, or are thinking about buying or selling a home in the Manalapan area, Jack Elkins would love to meet with you.