Aug 2, 2013
02:54 PMThe Connecticut Story
Katharine Hepburn's Old Saybrook Estate Taken Off the Market
Arnold Gold/New Haven Register
The former home of Katharine Hepburn on the mouth of the Connecticut River in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook, photographed from the dock.
Katharine Hepburn’s estate, which the legendary actress called “paradise” and was listed for a cool $30 million, has been taken off the market by its current owner.
Colette Harron, a real estate agent with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Essex, with whom the property was listed, confirmed the change in status.
The sprawling, white-washed brick house, built circa 1939, and its surrounding waterfront property in the summer enclave of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was on the market for over two years. False rumors swirled around the storied estate that the Obamas, the First Family, were considering buying the property about a year ago or so.
Harron noted that the late Hepburn had designated an abutting parcel of nearly 4 acres to remain as open space for conservation, which the Lynde Point Land Trust owns and maintains, forever protecting the view.
“You have that view. It’s an amazing property to tell you the truth,” Harron said.
Current owner Frank Sciame, a New York developer, completed a multi-million dollar renovation and preservation, including lifting the entire structure 5 1/2 feet up to withstand storm waters, while keeping all of the original masonry, Harron had told the ShoreLine Times in an earlier story. Hepburn’s original family home on that site was destroyed by the Hurricane of ’38.
Sciame told the ShoreLine Times about his decision in an email: “Given my growing family’s desire to spend their summers in Fenwick, and the opportunity to build the guest homes and create a one-of-a-kind family compound, we have decided to take the property off the market. Construction on the East House will start right after Labor Day.”
Sciame had told the Hartford Courant (July 25) that he was not going to sell the house for less than the asking price. They plan on building a second smaller guest house on the property right after Labor Day as the borough of Fenwick rules forbid any construction during the summer months.
Hepburn summered in the substantial brick mansion for decades and made it her year-round home the last seven years of her life before she died at age 96 in 2003. Sciame and his wife were neighbors in Fenwick for 10 years when they bought the 8,300 square-foot, “cottage” for $6 million in 2004, The ShoreLine Times had reported.
The house sits on more than 3.4 acres with 680 feet of waterfront from which Old Saybrook’s Outer Light and Inner Light lighthouses can be seen to the east, and where the mouth of the Connecticut River meets Long Island Sound. Another feature is the Fenwick Golf Club. The house lies in between the par-3, 2nd hole of the Fenwick Golf Course and the water. (Hepburn was not only a swimmer - she swam in the Sound well into her 80s - but an avid golfer for many years.)
Above right, Katharine Hepburn's favorite home in the rambling mansion, which she called paradise.