BAR HARBOR — The historic mansion East of Eden will go to auction on Sept. 7, unless sold beforehand. The mansion is currently listed for sale for $12.5 million with the Knowles Company.
Sitting on nine landscaped acres with its own pond and deepwater private dock, the 1910 Mediterranean-style villa is one of a handful of estates left from Bar Harbor’s Cottage Era, having survived the 1947 fire and generations of economic and cultural changes.
The most recent owner, William B. Ruger Jr., had renovated the mansion extensively, and added the garage in 2008 to house a collection of antique cars. Ruger’s family still owns the estate.
Susan Ferrante-Collier, the Knowles Company real estate broker who is representing the property, said selling the estate at auction “was the family’s decision. They wanted an end date,” she explained.
“These types of auctions are becoming more popular with high end homes in other parts of the world, somewhat fashioned after the fine art world.”
Ferrante-Collier said she is excited “that soon there will be a new owner that will care [for] and appreciate the house as much as Mr. Ruger [did].”
The property is currently showing by appointment, and will also have a daily open house from noon to 5 p.m. leading up to the auction date.
The three-story, 28-room mansion has seven bedrooms and a master suite, each with fireplaces that have been converted to gas. Public rooms include a reception room, music room, card room, library, dining room and bar. The kitchen complex includes a butler’s pantry and laundry room.
The third floor, according to a promotional brochure from the Knowles Company, “harkens back to a previous era” when every estate had servants’ quarters. “Now, the eleven small bedrooms, with two comfortable and modern bathrooms, can provide overflow for children — or serve as hobby rooms,” the brochure suggests.
Extra features include an elevator, eight-car garage, multiple porches, and a central hall with wood-burning fireplaces.
The mansion was designed by Boston architect Guy Lowell for Mr. and Mrs. Walter G. Ladd from New Jersey, who first named the property Eegonos, a backward spelling of their neighbor’s estate called Sonogee.
After surviving the fire, the mansion was used to house a French language immersion school for girls in the 1960s and early 1970s. The estate served as dormitory, dining hall, and classroom for the summer school, called L’Ecole Arcadie under the direction of property owner Dr. Richard Gott.
Ferrante-Collier said serious buyers do not need to wait until the auction date to make an offer on the property.
“This property can sell at any point. It does not have to go to auction, if an acceptable offer is made prior to.” In fact, she said making an offer ahead of time is the best way for potential buyers “to secure it before they get into a possible bidding situation, where they may end up paying more or not acquiring the property.”
According to auction terms of sale provided by the auction company, Platinum Luxury Auctions, the property will sell to the highest bidder regardless of bid price. There is no minimum required.
As is standard with auctions, there will be an 11 percent buyer’s premium added on to the winning bid, paid by the buyer. Farrante-Collier added, “But if one comes to the auction with a pre-bid, they will be offered a ten percent discount” on the buyer’s premium, which “could be a substantial savings for someone.”
The Sept. 7 auction is open to anyone who pre-registers and makes a $250,000 refundable deposit.
Interested parties may contact Ferrante-Collier or Platinum for registration papers.