Embattled Charles Ives House to Be Sold, Says Society

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 06:14 PM

Preservationists' attempts to purchase the former home of Charles Ives and turn it into an artists' retreat appear to have reached a sudden coda.

The Charles Ives Society, which has been spearheading an effort to preserve the 1912 house in West Redding, CT, said Sunday that the property's owner, Charles Ives Tyler, has decided instead to sell it to private individuals in a cash deal.

Tyler, the grandson of the American composer and a board member of the Ives Society, put the 18-acre property up for sale last year for a reported $1.5 million. The modest wood-frame house, flanked by a red barn, sits along a road now dominated by McMansions. The sale has renewed concerns that it will be razed to make room for a grander house.

The Society, which oversees the composer's publishing, issued a statement saying it is "disappointed" by the news.

"Our plan was to create an artists’ retreat that would have enabled composers to use the home and land just as Charles Ives did: to escape from the noise and bustle of everyday life, and to use the idyllic pastoral retreat for creative work and renewal," said the statement in part.

Attempts to reach Tyler for comment Sunday were unsuccessful.

Gayle Magee, the president of the Charles Ives Society, said she did not know the final sales price or when the deal would go through. The Society, which is based at the University of Illinois at Urbana, had recently devised its own plan to buy the house, one that appears thwarted. 

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9/20 update: The Charles Ives Society, the Town of Redding and the Redding Land Trust made two offers to buy and preserve the house for just over asking price, according to the Wall Street Journal. Both were rejected by Tyler. A petition against the sale has surfaced online, posted by University of New Hampshire music professor Robert Eschbach, who runs the Save the Charles Ives House Facebook page.

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Comments [6]

Meredith from Redding CT

I live on Umpawaug Road in Redding, CT, and it's certainly NOT flanked with McMansions - that statement is absolutely incorrect in this article. It is actually a very scenic road with beautiful antique homes and old estates. In addition to the loss of a historical home and contents, the other concern is that the Charles Ives homestead would be subdivided and/or built-out with new construction McMansions!

Sep. 24 2012 11:44 AM
Dan Masi

Small world- hello, Barry Owen Furrer, hope you're well and still playing!

So, I'm not sure I get what all of this is about and can't help but to agree with comments by "ruggles". As far as I can tell, and I'm no historian, Ives' birthhouse and family house in Danbury is already on the national register and is open to the public. There was apparently a lot of musical inpiration and history there. The West Redding house, Ives didn't move in to until he was almost 40, and according to a Wikipedia article, Ives suffered his second major heart attack about 4-5 years later "after which he composed very little".

Would Ives himself have considered this place as significant as today's preservationists do?

Sep. 18 2012 11:14 PM

I wonder what Charles Ives himself would have thought about it all. He was a family man and a pragmatic businessman, as well as a musical visionary. If his house is sold as a family retreat, rather than an artists' retreat, perhaps he would have approved of that. If it's knocked down, perhaps he would have seen the business sense of it. And as a visionary, perhaps he would have accepted that nothing physical lasts for ever in "the rise of all to the Spiritual". For the rest of us, his lasting legacy is his music, which transcends the mere physical.

Sep. 18 2012 08:48 PM
Dison Arnibal from New York

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Regards,
Mic
For Sale For Lease Pty Ltd
A <a href="http://www.atwellandco.com.au">Property Management Melbourne</a> Proprietary Limited Company
Prahran, Victoria 3181
Australia

Sep. 18 2012 03:19 AM
Barry Owen Furrer

Perhaps someone should contact Toll Brothers Builders - current sponsors of the Met Opera broadcasts and ask, no beg them to step in and help move this historic home. As builders of luxury homes and fine arts supporters, this would be a wonderful opportunity for all concerned to join forces. Heck, all they can do is say no. Another possibility - there are building preservation concerns that dismantle historic homes board by board and store them until a later date. Also, what is to become of the house contents when the title passes?

Sep. 17 2012 11:07 PM
Leslie

Money rules. It's so sad.

A truly American composer. He should be honored.

Sep. 17 2012 08:09 PM

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