Not only is Great Island in Darien, CT, the largest private island to be offered for sale on the East Coast, but before it was listed in 2016 for $175 million, this iconic property hadn’t been offered for sale or changed hands for more than a century. Purchased in the early 1900s by baking powder tycoon William Ziegler, the estate that lies just 50 miles north of New York City has remained in the family ever since. It’s asking $120 million this time around.
Accessible via the Rings End land bridge, this private oasis surrounded by water boasts more than a mile of Long Island Sound coastline with unobstructed views to Long Island’s North Shore.
Sitting atop a rocky coastline, the estate offers access to a protected cove with a crescent sand beach and a deep-water dock that can accommodate a 100-foot yacht.
The island’s properties include a mansion, beach cottages, a polo field, caretaker’s house with a greenhouse, yacht basin with docks and a cow barn. The aforementioned William Ziegler bought the property to use as a summer escape.
The 13,000-square-foot main house, known as Stone Manor, was built in 1905. It features nine bedrooms, guest and staff wings. Nearly every room enjoys waterfront views. Rooms boast 15-foot ceilings, seven fireplaces, a great room with a timbered ceiling and seven sets of French doors.
A three-sided exposure opens up to an elevated grass terrace. Additional buildings on the island include a 1820s Colonial, a caretaker’s house, a seaside cottage, and boat and beach houses.
Great Island is adjacent to Darien’s exclusive Long Neck Point, with distant views of the New York City skyline. The island may seem isolated but it’s just minutes away from downtown Darien and is near a local beach, yachting and golf clubs.
The property includes its own equestrian center with an 18-stall granite stable with arched Guastavino tile vaulted ceilings similar to the ones you’ll see in Grand Central Terminal’s Oyster Bar. There are indoor and outdoor riding arenas, and outdoor sand dressage arena and a private network of bridle trails, making this property one of the nation’s top equestrian estates on the market.
According to the listing, following the death of William Ziegler in 1905, his granddaughter Helen Ziegler-Steinkraus lived on Great Island with her husband William Steinkraus, the Olympic gold medalist in show jumping at the 1968 Mexico City games. Ms. Steinkraus died in 2012, and Mr. Steinkraus passed in 2017. The family has said that they are selling off the island because the “next generation has moved to other places.”
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Images courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence.
Neighborhoods : Darien