Monticello Recreation Sells at Auction for $2.125 Million
SOMERS, Conn. — S. Prestley Blake’s recreation of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello sold at auction Tuesday night for $2.125 million, the Republican reported. The unidentified buyer was a local doctor, according to Sherri Milkie, a real-estate agent with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Old Lyme, Conn., who had been the listing agent.
Blake, the co-founder of Friendly’s Ice Cream, hired Laplante Construction to build the home for $8 million and had planned to sell it for $6.5 million before dropping the price. He knew the sale would be a loss, but characterizes the home as his swan song and a gift to the town of Somers.
The home’s 10,000-square-foot interior is filled with modern amenities, but the exterior echoes details of Jefferson’s original in Charlottesville, Va., including the white columns, roof balustrades, and signature dome at the front of the structure (or the back at the original Monticello; the back entrance was the main entrance in Jefferson’s time). Period interior elements include a tea room, a lavish foyer, ornate hardwood floors, and the so-called great room.
Attention to detail can be seen in many aspects of the recreation work, including the brick used. Bricks in the original were hand-made made on-site in Virginia, and those used in Somers were also hand-made and cast to look like what was used in the early 19th century.