Sayonara, La Selva.
The 8,700 square-foot mansion, which had stood in Bar Harbor overlooking Frenchman Bay since the late 19th century, is no more.
I’m not sure precisely when it was demolished, but noticed the other day while driving by the two-acre property on Route 3 that the home, once owned by a member of the Astor family, is gone. All that remains standing is the curving stone wall that until recently supported the patio that faced the water. Tread marks left behind by demolition equipment line the driveway and granite blocks have been set to keep vehicles out of the sunken pit of rubble where the basement used to be.
The house, dilapidated as it was, was on the market late last summer for an asking price of just under $2 million. Veena Gaines, the listing agent, said at the time that La Selva was under contract but that she could not release details about the potential sale. She said it would take a lot of money to restore the mansion that once housed the L’Acadie summer French language immersion school, but that the abutting shoreline and its proximity to downtown Bar Harbor make it a distinctive property.
“The potential is there,” Gaines said. “Someone with pretty deep pockets would have to do it.”
The town’s online assessing database has not been updated to say who, if anyone, bought the property from the estate of John E. Pelletier, a local hotelier who passed away one year ago. The neighboring property owner, gun manufacturing heir William B. Ruger Jr., was known to have a right of first refusal on La Selva, but it’s not been disclosed whether he exercised that right or not.
Portland Monthly magazine published a feature article (with the now-ironic headline ‘Viva La Selva’) about the mansion and its rich history last spring. The home was one of several (including Mr. Ruger’s) that were featured in an article I wrote last fall about mansions on Mount Desert Island.
There are many mansions, old and new, that can be found on MDI. To view an interactive Google map I created that has locations and info for 27 of them, click here.