Real Estate

One of America’s last family-owned Gilded Age mansions lists for $100M

A rare Gilded Age mansion in Connecticut has hit the market for a whopping $100 million.

Located in the town of Darien, the estate is said to be one of America’s last family-owned estates from the 19th century — a time America showed rapid economic growth, leading in industrialization ahead of Britain.

Known as the Great Island for its location on 60 acres of private land, the home offers over a mile of “pristine shoreline” on the Long Island Sound, according to the listing.

The 10-bedroom, 10-bathroom mansion is also pegged as “one of the most remarkable properties ever to become available,” and a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The centerpiece of the property is a 13,000-square-foot manor dating back to 1905. It was inspired by an Italian villa and is detailed with “fine craftsmanship for which the era is known,” the listing notes.

Also on the property is a separate guest house, a caretaker’s cottage, a 19th-century farmhouse, a seaside cottage and a deep-water dock that can accommodate a 100-foot yacht.

The estate has multiple additional properties, including a guest house, 19th-century farmhouse, caretakers cottage and a picturesque seaside cottage.
The estate has multiple properties in addition to the main house, including a guest house, 19th-century farmhouse, caretaker’s cottage and a picturesque seaside cottage.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
The centerpiece of the property is a circa 1905 13,000 square-feet manor.
The centerpiece of the property is a circa-1905, 13,000-square-foot manor.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
A guest house, caretakers cottage, 19th century farmhouse, and a charming seaside cottage share the serene setting.
A three-bedroom stone house, a period farmhouse, a seaside bungalow and a charming beach cottage share the setting.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
The mansion has been detailed with the fine craftsmanship for which the era is known.
The mansion has been detailed with the fine craftsmanship for which the era is known.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
The 13,000-square-foot Great Island main house has 10 bedrooms and 10 baths on over a mile of Long Island Sound waterfront.
The 13,000-square-foot Great Island main house has 10 bedrooms and 10 baths on more than a mile of Long Island Sound waterfront.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Other features include a world-class equestrian facility designed by renowned architect Rafael Guastavino, known for his work on New York City’s Grand Central Terminal and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

The equestrian facility features an 18-stall granite stable, indoor and outdoor riding rings, a polo field, and numerous paddocks and riding trails.

Other exterior amenities include an expansive pool, several outdoor spaces for entertainment and a private white sand beach.

Great Island is also considered the largest private island ever to be offered for sale on the East Coast.

The private beach.
The private 60-acre island offers over a mile of shoreline.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
The property is considered the largest private island ever to be offered for sale on the East Coast.
The property is considered the largest private island ever to be offered for sale on the East Coast.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
With its proximity to New York City’s financial center, Connecticut was a hotspot for grand mansions in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
With its proximity to New York City’s financial center, Connecticut was a hot spot for grand mansions in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
Great Island equestrian features include an 18-stall granite stable, indoor and outdoor riding rings, a polo field, riding trails and many paddocks.
The Great Island equestrian facility features indoor and outdoor riding rings, a polo field, riding trails and many paddocks.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
The 18-stall granite stable.
The stables are made of granite and feature 18 stalls.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman

The property was first built in 1902 and then purchased a few years later by baking powder entrepreneur William Ziegler, and it has remained in the Ziegler family since.

The Ziegler family has an interesting history and includes descendant William Steinkraus, who was an Olympic show-jumping champion and won a gold medal at Mexico City in 1968.

In the 1930s, Addison Mizner, known as the architect to the very wealthy, did extensive renovations to the home, according to TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.

There is a long list of amenities such as a pool and sand beach, a deep-water dock that can accommodate a 100-foot-yacht.
There is a long list of amenities at the estate, such as a pool and sand beach and a deep-water dock that can accommodate a 100-foot yacht.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
One of the Ziegler family descendants is William Steinkraus, who was an Olympic show jumping champion and Olympic gold medal winner at Mexico City in 1968.
One of the Ziegler family descendants is William Steinkraus, who was an Olympic show-jumping champion and gold medal winner at Mexico City in 1968.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
The equestrian facility.
The equestrian facility
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
Great Island is a private 60-acre island offering over a mile of pristine shoreline on the Long Island Sound.
Great Island is a private 60-acre island offering over a mile of pristine shoreline on the Long Island Sound.
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Similar to many of the Gilded Age mansion owners, Ziegler bought the estate as a summer home to escape New York City’s heat. These massive mansions, built for families such as the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Astors, were sometimes referred to as “summer cottages,” with owners who were often competing to claim the largest and most extravagant home.

Today, very few of the Gilded Age mansions are still owned by families.

Most have been demolished for their land, burnt down or donated to schools and nonprofit institutions.

Jennifer Leahy of Douglas Elliman holds the listing.

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