Up in Riverdale, atop the second-highest peak in the city, is an opulent mansion that beckons to the heavens–literally–that’s about to hit the market for $10 million. The grand, 17-room home was built back in 1928 by its eccentric owner who never actually lived in the home herself, but rather constructed it for Jesus’ second coming.
Genevieve Ludlow Griscom was by then the widow of Clement Acton Griscom Jr., a prominent shipping executive. She was a member of a cult-like religious group called the Outer Court of the Order of the Living Christ, which was rooted in Episcopalian beliefs, but focused on “reincarnation and Christian mysticism,” according to the Post. “The property was built as the group’s summer retreat and was surrounded by a high fence, leading neighbors to speculate that it was home to strange rituals,” they added.
Genevieve supervised the Bronx mansion’s construction, but chose to live in a shack on the 2.3-acre property that was heated by a stove. The other group members lived in cottages throughout the grounds. They did, however, make sure to dust the home regularly in anticipation of Jesus’ visit, and every day Genevieve went inside to play the pipe organ.
In 1958, Genevieve died at the age of 90, and two years later, after the Order had ceased to exist, a developer bought the property for $700,000. They left the site untouched, eventually giving it to the Archdiocese of New York, who sold it in 1969 to Manhattan College. The school planned to build dorms there, but chose another location instead. It sat vacant until 1987 when Sandra and Jerry Galuten bought it for “practically nothing.”
At the time, “the house was a shell of its former self. Its front door was boarded up, the windows had been shattered and a group of raccoons was living in the attic. Vandals had burned the banister and other items, and the interior was blackened by flames.” The Galutens restored the 14,050-square-foot home over 25 years, adding limestone walls, marble floors imported from the Vatican, gilded ceilings painted by the Plaza’s artisans, and chandeliers from the Plaza. The property offers seven bedrooms, four wet bars, a hot tub, phones in all of the bathrooms, a wine cellar, barbecue pit in the kitchen, walk-in freezer, glass conservatory, cocktail lounge, and a top-floor hobby room/workshop.
The mansion has been on and off the market since 2009, first for $14 million, then up to $15 million two years later, and down to $11 million in 2013. Do you think the time is now ripe for this quirky home to fetch its soon-to-be listed $10 million price tag?
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Photos via previous listings by Oxford Property Group and Halstead