Winning bidder for famed Maine mansion to sell it, give portion of proceeds to charities

Latest Sales Luxury
"East of Eden" in Bar Harbor, Maine, has 28 rooms. Platinum Luxury Auctions

East of Eden,” a Gilded Age mansion on Mount Desert Island in Bar Harbor, Maine, has been auctioned, and the new owner has an unusual plan for the property — to turn around and sell it to secure charitable donations.

The home was listed for $12,500,000 before auction day. Art Girard, a developer and philanthropist from Portland, paid just $4,100,000 for the home, plus a buyer’s premium that made the total price tag about $4,600,000, according to the Portland Press Herald.

But Girard doesn’t plan to live in the home or make any changes to it. Instead, he wants to sell the 15,000-square-foot estate for $5,000,000; the additional $400,000 would be split equally between the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland and the University of New England.

“In other words, we would include it in the price, and then they would write a check to the charity,” Girard said in a phone interview with “We wouldn’t have to take a profit.”

Girard said opportunity knocked when he noticed the bids were far less than the listing price. He was one of nine registered bidders, according to Platinum Luxury Auctions.

East of Eden offers 28 rooms in all — 18 bedrooms, nine full bathrooms, and three half bathrooms. There’s nine acres of land, including  1,100 feet of waterfront.

The home was most recently owned by William B. Ruger Jr., who died last fall and left it to his nieces and nephews. The family decided to auction the home instead of letting it sit on the market, listing agent Sue Ferrante-Collier told prior to the auction.

Built in 1907, the three-story home features 14 fireplaces and a library, plus living, dining and card rooms. The first-floor ceilings are 14 feet high.

While the home’s systems have been upgraded to meet modern standards, much of its historic charm remains, including its matching roof tiles.

“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.”

See more photos of the home below:

Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @globehomes.