Martha Stewart has purchased the Ox Ledge estate, adjacent to her Skylands summer home on Ox Hill in Seal Harbor. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE KNOWLES COMPANY

Martha Stewart expands her Seal Harbor estate



MOUNT DESERT — Martha Stewart has bought herself an early Christmas present – the 10-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion adjacent to her Skylands summer estate on Ox Hill in the village of Seal Harbor.

According to property transfer documents filed in the Hancock County Registry of Deeds, Stewart purchased the cottage known as Ox Ledge and an abutting legacy garden parcel in November. The house and grounds had been listed in June by the Knowles Company of Northeast Harbor with an asking price of $5.8 million.

The town of Mount Desert values the total 8-acre property for tax purposes at $3.75 million.

Built in the early 1900s, Ox Ledge, then known as Tower Cottage, was designed by architect Duncan Candler, who also designed Skylands for Henry Ford’s son Edsel. The two homes were both part of the Ford property and at one point shared a driveway. When the properties later were divided, Ox Ledge retained what had been Skylands’ formal garden.

In all, Ox Ledge has 17 rooms in the 6,800-square-foot, hillside mansion that overlooks the waters of Seal Harbor and the Great Harbor of Mount Desert beyond.

The grounds are composed of “gorgeous forests, fern gardens and moss-covered rocks,” according to sales materials.

Property records show the land was sold to Stewart by Anne Kanzler Galyean of Hobe Sound, Fla., and Robert Clay Kanzler of Woodstock, Vt., the trustees of the estate of their mother, Judith F. Van Alen, a Ford descendant by marriage. Van Alen died in August 2011.

Martha Stewart has purchased an adjacent estate to expand her 63-acre hillside compound in Seal Harbor. FILE PHOTO

Martha Stewart has purchased an adjacent estate to expand her 63-acre hillside compound in Seal Harbor.
FILE PHOTO

Several days after a series of related transactions, Stewart transferred the land to a holding company in Bar Harbor, Lifestyle Research Retreat LLC. That limited liability company was formed on Nov. 6 and lists Bar Harbor attorney Douglas Chapman as the clerk.

Stewart bought the 63-acre Skylands property from the Leede family in 1997. The Leedes had purchased it from the Ford family.

Candler designed several shingle-style cottages in the Seal Harbor area. His sister was Edith Stebbins of Seal Harbor. Candler worked closely on the plans for the grounds with landscape architect Jens Jensen.

Citing confidentiality agreements, a company spokesperson would not confirm the identity of the buyer. Lili Pew and Mia Thompson of Knowles were the listing agents.

“The Knowles Company was very excited to receive the listing and see the property through to a successful sale,” said Business Manager Heather Jones. “Lifestyle Research Retreat LLC purchased the property, and we do not know of any future plans.”

Stewart also owns a company called Lifestyle Research Center LLC. It was formerly known as MS Real Estate Management Company.

The Ox Ledge property is served by town water and sewer. The property tax bill for 2015 was listed at $26,800.

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.
Earl Brechlin

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