In 1987, Konover and his family, who were living on Deercliff Road in Avon, learned that a 115-acre spread atop Talcott Mountain, the highest point in Avon, was for sale. Known as Montevideo, the sprawling estate spanned two towns: nearly 87 acres in Avon and 28 acres in Bloomfield. Built for arts patron Daniel Wadsworth, the compound included three cottages, two of which date from the 19th century, three Victorian-era horse barns and a 12-acre lake.
Montevideo can’t be glimpsed from Route 44, but its ridgelines and forests can be seen in several 19th-century paintings by Thomas Cole and John Trumbull, two of the Hudson River Valley School’s most famous artists. Cole, a frequent visitor to Wadsworth’s estate, described the many happy hours he spent there enjoying Montevideo’s sunsets and “shaded rambles,” in his journals and correspondence.
By the time Konover set eyes on the original house in 1987, designed by Wadsworth and Trumbull in 1809, it had been severely altered. During the second half of the 20th century, the main house had served as a women’s retreat and “the top floor and had been removed and several wings removed,” said Konover, founder of Konover Construction.
But the distressed house was not the selling point.
Konover was smitten by the setting, the views of Litchfield County, the Farmington Valley and the private spring-fed lake, which according to historians was one of Mark Twain’s favorite swimming holes, said Bif Carrington, the a property’s listing agent. Carrington’s sources include the 1983 book, “The Correspondence of Thomas Cole and Daniel Wadsworth,” and the Connecticut Historical Society.
Check out the pictures in the linked-to article. Very nice house. But who has this kind of money in Hartford? I’m not familiar with its business scene but things weren’t booming when I attended school there in the late 70′s and so far as my idle curiosity has observed since, nothing has changed for the better.
Could Avon be considered a weekend vacation spot? Will it support a $19 million cottage? I suspect we’ll have several years to find out.
UPDATE: in 2007, Konover won an appeal of the Avon tax assessor’s valuation of $4.4 million on this place and had his own appraiser’s valuation of $3.1 million substituted therefore. Ironic, but who among us does not like to pay lower taxes? The suit really says nothing about the actual value (Konover paid $6 million for the land itself in 1987), but offers an interesting view of the disconnect between what a property can be valued at for tax purposes and what it’s really worth. Greenwich back country owners, take notice.
UPDATE: ”Bif Carrington” has got to be a stage name.