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Back when being a millionaire still meant something, tycoons, barons, nouveau riche and old money-types procured and built grand palaces with their riches. Many of the most famous family estates are no longer occupied by the families that built them and are now open to the public, such as the Vanderbilts’ Biltmore, the Hearsts’ Hearst Castle, and the Rockefellers’ Kykuit.
The aforementioned are big houses with names, built for big names. But today, family compounds and family estates don’t seem to get passed down through the generations with as much regularity as they once did. With input from LuxuryRealEstate.com , Realtor.com and Sotheby’s , we rounded up some homes, compounds, and estates that have been in the same families (prominent and private) for generations, but which are now up for purchase on the market.
Click ahead to see those houses, ordered by price from lowest to highest (including one unknown asking price).
By Colleen Kane
Posted 16 Mar 2011
Location: Jericho, Vermont
This 1797 Flemish Bond brick Georgian home was built for Martin Chittenden, the 8th governor of Vermont and son of Thomas Chittenden who was the first governor of Vermont. The home has been in the family of the present owners since 1939, and prior to that it was a bed and breakfast.
Situated on 83 acres with one mile of frontage on the Winnoski River, the house has 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, 8 fireplaces, and features the original wide-plank wood flooring and plenty of period details, like a painted American flag decoration over a mantle from when the flag had only 16 stars.
Location: Wellesley, Massachusettes
The Sprague family, which built this enchanting Tudor in 1893, were prominent Wellesley residents—the elder Sprague, Issac IV, was a renowned bird and botanical artist, and his son Issac Sprague V was a banker and local benefactor. The house has been in the Chellis family for more than half a century.
The 3-story home has 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 17 gables, leaded casement windows galore, window seats, a cage elevator hidden behind mahogany doors, a guest cottage/exterior office, a hidden four-foot high two-door wall safe, and an Arts and Crafts fountain room from 1912, with Grueby Tile and Tiffany fixtures. In the garden, some of Mrs. Sprague’s minature Alpine flowers still return each spring.
If all that didn’t grab you, here’s how owner Robert Chellis describes his family’s home base: “Every day of living in it is a pleasure - revealing some extra detail inside - or new plant or bird or bunny outside. It is a totally comfortable and rewarding place to live - in wooded but sunny privacy - a great place for entertaining, and a wonderful family home and retreat.”
Location: Tuxedo Park, New York
This grand 10,000 square foot brick manor house was built in 1905 on 17.8 acres with views of Tuxedo Lake and the Ramapo Mountains, and is on the market for the first time since 1916. The first owner was Louis Stuyvesant Chanler, a member of the Astor family and Lieutenant Governor of New York.
Around 1915, Gladys Pell and husband Henry P. Rogers moved in. In the 1920s, Rock Ridge was said to have one of the finest examples of English gardens in the country. Gladys' son took over the estate in the 1960s, and served as Tuxedo Park's mayor for many years.
The house features 8 fireplaces, oak hardwood floors, granite and limestone quoins, a bluestone terrace, a slate roof, copper gutters and also on the property are a 2-bedroom staff cottage, an in-ground pool, a tea house with fireplace, a 2-car garage, a 4-car garage with chauffeur apartment, and another 1-car garage.
Location: London, England
Price: £12,000,000 (approx. $19,291,000)
Old Battersea House was the Forbes family home base in the U.K. The Grade II listed (a British designation meaning “particularly important buildings of more than special interest”) manor house, built in the late 1600s, has 5 reception rooms, 10 bedrooms, a baroque hallway, and a walled garden.
Old Battersea has been spared a few times, first when Colonel Charles G Stirling and his wife moved in, saving it from demolition. After Mrs. Stirling’s death at 99, the house was abandoned and roofless. In the early 1970s, Malcolm Forbes stepped in, restored the property, and filled it with a collection of Victorian art.
Location: Beverly Hills, California
This home is on the market for the first time, being sold by the great grandchildren of oil magnate Edward L. Doheny (said to be the real-life counterpart of Vern Roscoe in Upton Sinclair’s ‘Oil!’ which inspired the film ‘There Will Be Blood’).
This 4 bedroom, 7 bath, single-story home was built in 1972 on, appropriately enough, Doheny Road. It’s a gated community with fenced yard and gated access to the nearly 3-acre property.
There are also Doheny drives and Doheny State Beach in the region, and nearby is another Doheny estate, the Greystone Mansion, where his son Ned died in a murder-suicide during the Teapot Dome scandal in 1929.
Location: Aspen, Colorado
This 838-acre Woody Creek Valley property is a rarity: a pristine Rocky Moutain ranch up for sale ten miles from Aspen. Homesteaded in the 1899, Craig Ranch has been in the Craig family since 1964. The rustic house was remolded around the time the Craigs moved in, and has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, a deck caretaker quarters and other outbuildings.
But it’s not the house that’s commanding the $43 million price tag: It’s about the well-preserved land, with its undisturbed meadows and forests. For the future conservationists who buy this property, neighbors will include elk, mule deer, black bear, eagles, hawks, game birds, migrating birds and waterfowl. The land’s one mile of frontage on both sides of Woody Creek also ensures creek-faring neighbors such as brook, rainbow and brown trout.