Massive Wilton estate up for auction

It’s an auction so pricey that it requires a $1.5-million deposit just to walk in the door, take a seat and place bids.

Up on the block is 144 Huckleberry Hill Road, an 8,621-square-foot mansion with guest house, caretaker house and horse stable situated on 152.83 acres, according to the legal advertisement placed by the attorney Robert F. Frankel.

The estate was owned by Leon Hirsch, the former chairman of U.S. Surgical Corp. It is in foreclosure, through TD Bank.

The date of the auction is Saturday, Aug. 12, at noon, with inspection time to view the property from 10 to noon.

The property is known as Quiet Lane. It straddles both Wilton and New Canaan. It was on the market for $42 million in August of 2013, and helped to drive the average listing price of homes in Wilton to nearly $1.5 million at the time, the highest in seven years.

The Bulletin reported on the estate in 2013, and showed that the estate features a Tudor mansion built in 1926, an 11-stall barn, riding trails, two lakes, a pond, streams, waterfalls and two sites suitable to land a helicopter. The land is bordered by 400 acres owned by the Second Taxing District of Norwalk. The estate was rebuilt in 1988.

The detail work in the home, built just before the Great Depression, is outstanding, with large, carved moldings, wainscoting, fireplaces and window seats. Through the 10,000 square feet, there are 17 rooms overall, 11 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms on three levels. A sweeping, grand staircase leads from the first floor to the upper levels. There are also a wood-paneled library, living room, dining room and double kitchen. Adjacent to the kitchen are two bedrooms for staff and a flower-cutting room. A wine cellar can hold more than 2,000 bottles.

Off the library is a covered patio that leads to a pool and gardens with a magnificent old oak tree.

The 11-stall barn is splendid with an exterior in mahogany and a butternut interior. The barn also offers a bedroom, five bathrooms, a granite kitchen and an entertainment room with a wall of windows overlooking a waterfall.

The barn’s architect, Bartholomew Voorsanger, also designed the National World War II museum and the Asia Society and Museum.

There are also a riding arena, seven paddocks, and a galloping track measuring one-third of a mile.

Five miles of gravel trails traverse the property passing lakes and ponds, trout-stocked streams, and through open fields and wooded areas.

There are also two 2,000-square-foot cottages, each with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. An eight-car garage also includes storage space.

Frankel did not comment on the estate, but referred questions to the TD Bank. First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice declined to comment on this unique event in the community because she said she does not comment on homes for sale.

However, economist Steven Glazer of Norwalk Community College summed it up as probably not indicative of a trend.

“One foreclosure should not have much of an impact,” Glazer said. “If there were a series of them, then that would be cause for concern.”
— Jeannette Ross contributed to this story.