List Price: $5.75 million
Sale Price:
$3.3 million
The Property:
At the center of this 22-acre estate in the horse country of Barrington Hills stands an 80-year-old manor house built of stone. The Cotswold-styled house has 20 rooms (seven of them bedrooms), nine full and four partial bathrooms, and six fireplaces. On the grounds, in addition to a pool, are a pool house with a kitchen and two baths, a tennis court, and a barn that accommodates 14 horses.

Those are the facts of the property; it also comes with a fiction. According to Meg Cleavenger, the seller’s real-estate agent, people often say this was the home of the man whose wife, Wallis Simpson, left him for England’s King Edward VIII. Actually, a brother of Simpson’s first husband built the mansion, and Simpson left her second husband to marry England’s king. 

The property was later the home of the longtime national polo champion and polo advocate William Ylvisaker; Allen D. Peterson, the founder of American Tool Company, bought the place in 1994 (McHenry County records do not say what he paid for it). Petersen died in October 2007, and the house hit the market the following April. Fifty-four days later, the eventual buyer offered $3.3 million for the property. Cleavenger says the buyer was someone who had first wanted to purchase the estate three decades ago. When it went on the market this year, she says, “he came and got it at last.” (Cleavenger would not name the buyer, and McHenry County public records do not identify him.) The deal closed on October 8th.

Price Points: The final sale price was a 42 percent discount from the asking price. That’s often a sign of some fractious negotiations, but Cleavenger says this was “an unusually pleasant transaction.” She says that Peterson’s heirs were more interested in seeing the house go to someone who really appreciated it than in making a bundle of money.

Listing Agent: Meg Cleavenger of Coldwell Banker, 847-382-3600;

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