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In 1954, the Chicago businessman Frank Reilly and his wife, Antoinette, bought the Kingdom Come Farm property from its third owners, at about the same time that littérateurs anointed Gatsby, initially only a modest success, a Great American Novel. The Reillys knew of the connection to Fitzgerald, but “they didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it,” says their son, Dennis, a 68-year-old retired physicist now living in Boston. With both parents now dead, he and his two siblings have decided to sell the house and the surrounding eight and a half acres. The house is listed with Houda Chedid of Baird & Warner, with an asking price of $6 million.
The house, which Shaw made wide and shallow to catch cross breezes, has remained largely unchanged since 1954. There is molding in a Grecian key pattern carved in the plaster of the living-room walls, murals on the dining-room walls, four light sconces in the dining room that past owners told the Reillys were Baccarat crystal, brightly colored panels of vitreous tile on the walls of five bathrooms, and a green onyx mantel over the fireplace in the master bedroom. The small kitchen needs an upgrade, but because it sits amid a cluster of butler’s and cook’s rooms, an expansive modernization would not compromise the integrity of the living spaces.
“It’s a rare, rare property,” says Chedid, who notes that a servant’s house and a stable (with another two acres) are also for sale separately, at a price to be negotiated. Dennis Reilly says his family kept as many as eight polo ponies in the stable when he was young.