Atop the city’s second-highest peak, in Riverdale, the Bronx, this opulent mansion has been beckoning the heavens–and seeking a buyer–since 2009 when it hit the market with an ask of $14 million; As 6sqft previously reported, the 17-room 1home was built in 1928 for an eccentric owner who never actually lived there herself, but rather constructed it for Jesus’ second coming. The house was asking $11 million in 2013 and re-listed with a $10 million price tag in 2015. Welcome2TheBronx reports that the home finally sold for $6,250,000 on January 9th of this year.
The mega-mansion was built for Genevieve Ludlow Griscom, widow of Clement Acton Griscom Jr., a prominent shipping executive and 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. The house was built as the group’s summer retreat, surrounded by a tall fence.
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, leaving the site untouched and 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.”
A more recent listing shows a virtually staged renovated mansion ready for some 21st century worship–of modern luxe interiors like a Lindsey Adelman organic chandelier and a sprawling white sectional sofa.
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.
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Images courtesy of Keller Williams, Oxford Property Group and Halstead.
Neighborhoods : Riverdale