In 1973, a young, bold entrepreneur jokingly bid a ridiculously low price for this Gilded Age Federal-style masterpiece in Newton. Three days later, he owned it. When his wife found out what he had done, she broke down in tears: They couldn’t afford the 11,751-square-foot house, let alone heat and furnish it. But fortune shined upon them, and in the early ’90s they launched one of the most successful IPOs at the time, allowing them to raise two children in the home and take painstaking care of the estate. Two decades hence, it’s time for another risk taker to become a patron of the house. Perched atop Mt. Ida, the mansion was redesigned and expanded in 1887 by textile king Charles Riley for his wife and his daughter, Mabel Louise. Known as Miss Riley, Mabel Louise spent her entire life here, tending her gardens, caring for her horses, and bestowing generosity upon scores of charities. The home, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, features incredible period details, including coffered ceilings in African mahogany and fully restored and painted decorative plasterwork. The servant bells from another time still work (just plug in the batteries), as does the butler call button under the head of the dining room table. If history is any indication, this comfortable, elegant abode will shelter its next family in splendor for years to come.
ON THE MARKET
Address: 93 Bellevue St., Newton
Listing Price: $4,800,000
Listing Agents: Mary Ann Tecce, 617-984-9734, and George Ballantyne, 617-899-7045, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, gibsonsothebysrealty.com
Stats: Seven bedrooms, five full baths, two half baths