A Mount Desert Island Gilded Age mansion will hit the auction block

Buying Luxury
East of Eden, a home on Mount Desert Island in Bar Harbor, Maine, is set to be auctioned on Sept. 7. The Knowles Company

A Gilded Age mansion on Mount Desert Island in Bar Harbor, Maine, is headed for the auction block.

Listed for $12,500,000, 145 Eden St., known as East of Eden, has 28 rooms spread across 15,000 square feet of living space. The home has 18 bedrooms, nine full bathrooms, and three half bathrooms, and it sits on nine acres with 1,100 feet of waterfront.

Why an auction? Listing agent Sue Ferrante-Collier of The Knowles Company said the home’s owner, William B. Ruger Jr., died last fall. Ruger didn’t have a partner or children, so his nieces and nephews were left to grapple with what to do with the estate he lovingly restored.

The auction, set for Sept. 7, is like a fine art auction, not a bank sale. The family members already have their own homes and didn’t want the property to sit on the market, Ferrante-Collier said.

The scheduled auction doesn’t mean the property is off the market, however. It’s still available for showings, and if someone makes an offer and the family accepts before that date, the auction will be canceled.

“It was a passion for him to restore it,” Ferrante-Collier said of Ruger. “It is just a beautiful piece of art, as well as a very beautiful, comfortable, light-filled home.”

The home

East of Eden sits along Frenchman Bay, according to a description of the property, and the home takes full advantage of its location. Upon entering the foyer, you can see the bay directly across through a back door.

Towering three floors with elevator access to all levels, the home has 14-foot ceilings on the first floor; 14 fireplaces; living, dining, and card rooms; and a library. The porch is a great spot for dining al fresco. 

The second floor offers eight bedrooms, each with its own gas fireplace. The master suite also has its own sitting room. The third floor holds 11 smaller rooms believed to have been the servants’ quarters.

Although the home’s historic features have been preserved (from matching roof tiles from the original manufacturer to the friezes), the property has undergone updates, including modernization of the home’s operating systems and renovations to the bathrooms and kitchen. The property also offers an eight-car garage and a dock, plus two moorings for large boats. Acadia National Park is also nearby with its miles of trails, Ferrante-Collier noted.

“It really lends itself very nicely to an active potential buyer,” she said.


Construction on the home began in 1907 and was completed in 1909, the description says. Guy Lowell — known for his work on the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and buildings at Harvard and Brown universities — was the architect of the Second Renaissance Revival-style property, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The home has changed hands over the years; it was spared in a 1947 fire that destroyed several Bar Harbor mansions, according to the listing. It became a French language summer school from 1961 until 1975. When Ruger bought the home in 2006, he carried out 10 years of renovations, including the addition of the garage to house his collection of antique automobiles.

Along with luxury seaside living, Bar Harbor, and the surrounding area, has its fair share of celebrities. The Portland Press Herald reported that Susan Sarandon also has a home on Mount Desert Island, while Martha Stewart has a property in nearby Seal Harbor.

See more photos of the home below:

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