Alexandra Creel Goelet

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Alexandra Creel Goelet
Born 1940 (age 79–80)
Nationality USA
Education Yale School of Forestry
Alma mater Barnard College
Occupation Forester
Known for Owning a historic estate on an island off Long Island

Alexandra Creel Goelet is a prominent member of the family which owns Gardiner's Island, off Long Island, New York.[1][2][3][4][4][5]

She married Peter Francis Tufo, a lawyer and real estate developer, on December 10, 1964.[6][7] That marriage ended in divorce.[8] She returned to college, after her divorce. After earning a bachelor's degree from Barnard College she studied at the Yale School of Forestry, enabling her to make informed decisions in managing the forests on Gardiner's Island.[9][10]

In 1974 she met Robert Guestier Goelet, who also came from a wealthy family, who became her second husband.[10] The couple married, on Gardiner's Island, in 1976.[8] She bore two children in the late 1970s.

When her mother, Alexandra Gardiner Creel, and her uncle Robert David Lion Gardiner, inherited Gardiner's Island from an aunt, in 1953, that aunt had set up a trust fund to maintain the Island. That trust was exhausted in 1977.[8] Due to disputes between with her uncle, he declined to pay a share of the Island's upkeep - then more than $1 million per year. Goelet and her husband paid the entire cost of the property's maintenance. They went to court to have him barred from visiting the Island.

Her uncle maintained, for the last decades of his life, that when he died she and her husband would ruin the Island, by selling it to developers, or developing it themselves.[8] His distrust grew so great he tried finding a distant relative he could officially adopt, to inherit his share of the Island, who would oppose their plans. When he failed to find a relative who measured up to his standards, he said he would work to have the Island expropriated by the Government.

In 1986, four years prior to their mother's death, her brother Raymond J. Randall Creel Jr., who had experienced health concerns, offered to sell his interest in Gardiner's Island to Alexandra and Robert.[8]

Goelet's uncle, Robert David Lion Gardiner, and Goelet's mother, who died in 1990, each inherited half of the Island.[11]

Upon the death of her uncle, in 2004, Goelet became the sole owner of the island.[1]

On September 7, 2000, the East Hampton Star described Alexandra Creel Goelet as being "estranged" from her uncle Robert David Lion Gardiner, who was then the heir to the estate.[11] The paper described hearings before the East Hampton town council, held in the East Hampton firehall, where Goelet's 89-year-old uncle, and she and her husband and son, presented two alternate proposals to the town council. Gardiner urged the town council to designate the island a "historic district". Goelet's team urged the council to leave the island's zoning as-is. They assured the council that the trust established to maintain the island had enough resources to last fifty years.

The Island's current zoning would allow the owners to split the property into one-acre lots.[11] Her uncle had requested it to be rezoned into five-acre lots. Goelet and her husband opposed the rezoning, because it would lower the value of the property. They explained they weren't worried about the properties resale value, except that a rezoning that lowered its value would make government expropriation easier. They felt their family would be better stewards of the property, than if it were turned into a government park or wildlife sanctuary.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lindsay Pollock (2005-01-13). "Tea for Two, Three, or $5 Million". New York Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2016-06-27. "Gardiner's Island is now the great remaining legacy, and it has passed into the sole ownership of Robert Gardiner's niece, Alexandra Creel Goelet. She's married to the scion of another New York moneyed family and has promised to preserve the island." 
  2. Tiger Gardiner (1989). "The Gardiner-Squires connection: an account of the Gardiner family of Gardiner's Island, Long Island, New York, and the Squires family of Squiretown, Long Island, New York and West Haven, Connecticut, their connections and allied families--Wiggins, Miner, Beer, Wines, and Raynor, 1559–1989". Gateway Press. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  3. John T. Brooks, Jena L. Levin (2015-08-25). "No Standing to Enforce a Charitable Trust". Wealth Management. Archived from the original on 2015-11-10. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "New York’s Gardiners Island: Still in the Family After Almost 400 Years". Slate magazine. 2016-02-02. Archived from the original on 2016-04-26. Retrieved 2016-06-27. "For roughly 30 years, Bob was embroiled in highly-publicized fights over the ownership and development of the island with his niece, Alexandra Creel Goelet, who eventually inherited her mother’s interest when she died." 
  5. John Rather (2004-09-05). "Debating the Future Of Gardiners Island". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-06-27. "Mrs. Goelet, 64, and Mr. Goelet, 80, have two children. Their daughter, Alexandra Gardiner Goelet, 27, is traveling in Australia and recently completed a wildlife management project on the habitat of the koala bear. Their son, Robert Gardiner Goelet, 25, is a project manager for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and lives in Manhattan." 
  6. "Miss Creel to marry New York lawyer". East Hampton Star: p. 2. 1964-10-22. Retrieved 2020-09-15. "She is the granddaughter of the late Mr and Mrs Robert Alexander Gardiner and the late Mr and Mrs James Randall Creel." 
  7. "Alexandra Creel Wed at St. James To Peter F. Tufo; Daughter of Justice is Married to Lawyer, a Beloit Alumnus". The New York Times: p. 64. 1964-12-10. Retrieved 2020-09-15. "Mrs. Tufo is a graduate of the Garrison Forest School in Garrison, Md., and Briarcliff College, class of ‘59. She was presented in 1957 at a dance given by her parents in Mill Neck." 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Dinitia Smith (1989-06-05). "The blue-blood feud over Gardiner's Island: Wasp's Nest". New York Magazine: pp. 30–39. Retrieved 2019-10-12. 
  9. New York Magazine. New York. 1989. pp. 37. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Notes on people: Alexandra Creel married Goelet Museum President". The New York Times: p. 12. 1976-09-11. Retrieved 2019-10-12. "Mrs. Goelet, a 1957 debutante and a Barnard College graduate, received her master's degree in May from Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies." 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Stephen J. Kotz (2000-09-07). "Gardiner Feud Comes Home". East Hampton Star. Archived from the original on 2016-06-27. "In more recent years, the island has primarily made headlines for its strict no-trespassing policy and a contentious legal battle between two possible heirs. As of now, the island is unilaterally owned by Gardiner-descendant Alexandra Creel Goelet, who intends, predictably, to keep it in the family."