On the Market: The Fernbrook Estate
481 Main Street, Centerville
Size: 6,755 square feet
Baths: 8 full, 2 half
A Cape Cod bed and breakfast is a charming treat on its own, but this Queen Anne shingle-style construction in Centerville comes with a distinguished history. It was built in 1881 by a Boston restaurateur named Howard Marston. He commissioned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (responsible for the Arnold Arboretum and Central Park) to design the home’s surrounding gardens. As detailed by Cape Cod Life, the property changed hands over the next century, allowing for guests like Audrey Hepburn, Walt Disney, and John F. Kennedy to stay there.
After Marston, Chelsea native and MIT graduate Herbert Kalmus retreated to the estate, naming it “Fernbrook.” Kalmus was known for his invention of Technicolor, the technology that brought black and white films to life from the 1920s through the 1950s. Kalmus hosted his pal Walt Disney at Fernbrook, as well as Clark Gable, Cecil B. DeMille, and Audrey Hepburn.
Beginning in the 1950s, a cardinal from New York named Francis Spellman spent his days at Fernbrook. A friend of Joseph Kennedy Sr., Spellman presided over the weddings of Robert and Ted Kennedy, and hosted Jackie and John F. Kennedy at Fernbrook. The property was converted to a B&B in 1997, and has been recently renovated to revive the opulence of a bygone era. It features ten bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen, dining area, a 50-foot-long lap pool, and a ballroom. While it’s zoned for commercial use, Fernbrook can be purchased as a private residence.
For information, contact Jack Cotton Jr., Sotheby’s International Realty, sothebyshomes.com.
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