Embattled Charles Ives House to Be Sold, Says Society

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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.