c.1925 McGinley Mansion & Historic Gardens Face Demolition After Selling for $3M
SOLD | Built c.1925 | 12,000 Sq. Ft. | 10 Beds | 8.5+ Baths | 4 Acres
582 Blue Hill Avenue, Milton, Massachusetts, United States, 02186
A historic 4 acre property in Milton, Massachusetts complete with 12,000 square foot main house and lovely gardens designed by landscape architect Ellen Shipman is facing demolition after selling in 2019 for $3 million. The 12,000 square foot Georgian mansion was designed by architects Henry Forbes Bigelow and Philip Wadsworth of the well-known Boston firm of Bigelow & Wadsworth and built in 1925 for newspaper heiress, Mrs. Holden McGinley. The Cultural Landscape Foundation published an article on April 10, 2020 revealing that the historic property could be facing demolition, “The McGinley Garden was created by Ellen Shipman at the zenith of her distinguished career, and, until recently, the secluded property has been a Mecca for garden enthusiasts. But its new owners have something very different in mind for the future of the site: a new complex of 120 housing units and 180 parking spaces.” The property has sold a handful of times in the last 20 years. It sold for $950,000 in 1999 and didn’t come back onto the market until 2010 for nearly $3 million. It eventually sold in 2013 for $1.6 million and most recently in 2019 for $3 million.
It’s now owned by Comprehensive Land Holdings, LLC who, according to The Cultural Landscape Foundation, submitted an Application for Site Eligibility to the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, seeking approval to develop the 4 acre site. According to the application, “the proposed development will replace a gilded-era mansion and outbuildings with 120 multifamily units, of which 25% will be affordable to 80% AMI, and 180 parking spaces.” The Cultural Landscape Foundation revealed, “As the development plans clearly indicate, a new four-story complex containing the housing units would be built atop a parking garage, completely obliterating the home by Bigelow & Wadsworth and the garden by Ellen Shipman.”
The Cultural Landscape Foundation revealed the history of the gardens, “Although subsequent development has obscured the spectacular views once enjoyed from its precincts, the McGinley Garden remains one of Shipman’s most important commissions from the 1920s, when she was at the peak of her career. The Massachusetts Horticultural Society awarded the garden a blue ribbon in 1933 for its “great charm and restraint.” Notably, the project also touches on the career of Edith Schryver, who worked in Shipman’s office in the 1920s and produced drawings for the garden. Schryver would go on to partner with Elizabeth Lord in the firm Lord & Schryver, thus forming what was among the first West Coast landscape architecture practices run by women. Given its strong connection to these pioneering designers, the McGinley Garden’s pedigree is particularly rich and significant for the history of landscape architecture.” The most recent listing described the property as a “sophisticated escape” with striking features including a winding quarter sawn oak staircase, an expansive dining room with a Moroccan inspired ceiling, a greenhouse designed by Lord and Burnham, a panelled study and wonderful sunrooms with arched French doors. For full details regarding the possible demolition of this historic property visit The Cultural Landscape Foundation.