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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Llangollen goes on the market for $34 million

* The Llangollen estate in Virginia, USA.

Llangollen is on the market for a cool 34 million dollars.

But before the panic starts, that's not our famous town but an enormous mansion of the same name in the state of Virginia, USA.   

First American diplomat and publisher Jock Whitney, then Donald Brennan, a former Morgan Stanley exec, built up the equestrian mecca and now it’s somebody else’s turn, according to an article on the Bloomberg news website.

The story says that of the roughly five million acres in Virginia granted to the Fairfax family by the kings of England in the 17th century  600 acres or so ended up in the hands of the Powell family by 1827. Politicians and gentleman merchants, the Powells built a lovely mansion they called Llangollen, which then passed from one illustrious owner to the next.  
The Bloomberg piece goes on: "When Donald Brennan, the former head of Morgan Stanley Capital Partners, saw the house at the start of the 21st century, it was one of the pre-eminent properties in blue blood American horse country. 
"The acreage had been expanded—the plot had become 1,100 acres—and the house enlarged, most notably in the 1930s by John Hay “Jock” Whitney, a gilded age playboy-millionaire. 
"Brennan and his family officially took ownership of Llangollen in 2006 and he is now putting the property back on the market for $34 million.
"The estate, in its present form, is largely unaltered from when Jock Whitney and his wife Mary Elizabeth purchased it. Whitney inherited his wealth but did an excellent job putting it to good use. He financed Gone With The Wind, was a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, bought the New York Herald Tribune, and served as ambassador to Great Britain. 
"The Whitneys founded the Llangollen Race Meeting, a steeplechase that attracted 20,000 spectators, and built ancillary buildings on the property, including the now-famous “horseshoe stables” for their show-ponies. They added a polo field, nine houses for guests, a race track, a training track, and, most impressive of all, a hyper-sophisticated water system that remains to this day. 
“The property has about 400 acres of forest that sit on the east face of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” 

Brennan says. “In order to produce water for the property, there are springs whose water is pumped to the top of the mountain, at which point it comes down through streams that go into a large concrete cistern, which Whitney built into the side of the mountain above the house.”
"There’s a distribution system that sends water to 120 points across the property—“the homes, the water troughs for horses, the stables, the polo facilities … it’s an incredible engineering feat,” Brennan explains. Should water levels run low, an electrical system sets off pumps in wells at ground level, sending water up to the cistern.
"When the couple divorced, Mary Elizabeth Whitney kept the estate and lived there until her death in 1988."

* To see the Bloomberg story, go to:
relates to A Gilded Age Playboy’s 1,100-Acre Polo Estate Is Up for Sale

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