The home of distinguished art collector Mary Blair Sams and her American Folk Art business, known as “Ballyhack Antiques,” has recently come on the market. Situated in Cornwall, Connecticut, at 16 Furnace Brook Road, the home is listed with Ira Goldspiel of the Kent William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty brokerage at a price of $875,000. Given its physical beauty and fascinating past, the house is sure to attract plenty of suitors.
Mary and her husband, Dr. William Rashbaum, purchased the property in 1989 as a “home away from home.” Yet as Sams’ art collection grew, so did her attachment to the home, and what began as a weekend retreat had become their permanent residence by the late 1990s. Sams’ display of her many whimsical items throughout the interior made for an authentic antique atmosphere, despite the lack of a formal showroom. Several of the more unique art pieces from the home will be sold at the Sotheby’s Auction House as part of its “Americana Auction,” currently scheduled for the week of January 18th, 2016. As is the case every year, this week brings some of New York City’s greatest antique events, one of which includes the 62nd Winter Antiques Show.
Given its 1760 establishment, the house was in need of restoration at the time of its 1989 sale. With the intention of bringing the residence back to its former glory, Sams and Rashbuam enlisted the aid of esteemed restoration architect and Cornwall resident Tim Prentice. In two years time, Prentice fully refurbished the home, restoring the estate to its original condition. Today, the renovated Colonial rests on over 19 acres of open land complete with surrounding woods, stone walls and perennial gardens. Positioned on an 8.3-acre lot, the 3,665 square-foot home seamlessly blends original details with its many modern conveniences and luxuries.
Tangible attributes aside, the home brings with it quite the unique history. For years, the residence served as an operating farm, gaining the name “Ballyhack Farm.” Additionally, the property served as a stagecoach stop on the Hartford to Albany line as well as a progressive school in the second half of the 19th century. Although uncharacteristic of the period, the school defined itself with acceptance and inclusion of many Native American students. In fact, the first marriage between a Native American man and Caucasian woman in the state of Connecticut was held at the estate during the time of the school’s operation.
“This home is truly special in every sense of the word,” Goldspiel stated. “Not only does it offer an amazingly rich 250-year history, but it also contains great character forged by its former homeowners. I am proud to be representing the hidden treasures of this residence—an antique gem in the heart of Cornwall.”
For more information on the property, please visit the firm’s website here.