"There's no use going in there, brother. You won't get a damned crust." Thus was Enoch Pratt, a leading 19th century capitalist and philanthropist, warned away from his own estate by an irate tramp. Although famous for his lucrative involvement in railroads, canals, banks and insurance companies, the Massachusetts-born Pratt also enjoyed a reputation as a tightwad. This estate, named by him "Tivoli," is said to be unique among his ventures in that it yielded no profit.
Pratt purchased Tivoli in 1870 as a summer residence. He was in good company, among fellow New Englanders who suffered unpopularity during the difficult years of Reconstruction. They formed a congenial colony in the countryside near "Govanstown," then a two-hour ride from town. Tivoli is one of the few estates to survive from that era. It was built in 1855 in a local version of the Italianate style and once included sections of several colonial plantations, forest and rolling farmland.
Pratt died at Tivoli on September 17, 1896. In 1899, the estate was sold to the A.S. Abell family, publishers of the Sunpapers and owners of an adjoining estate. Since 1925, Tivoli has housed Woodbourne, a residential treatment center for troubled adolescents. Established in 1798 as the "Female Humane Association," it was one of the earliest children's institutions
in the country.