Something akin to the likes of Camelot rises and sprawls and otherwise enchants both the eye and the mind roughly 45 miles south of Ladue, in Festus: an honest-to-Merlin castle.
The 2,400-acre Selma Farm, including the 12,000-square-foot structure historically known as Kennett’s Castle, is being marketed in tandem by the St. Louis office of Cushman & Wakefield and Chesterfield’s Hilton and Associates, and the utter magnificence of the property has astounded even veteran professionals at those agencies.
“Our immediate reaction when we were awarded the listing for Selma Farm was excitement,” says Mike Hanrahan, executive director at Cushman & Wakefield. “It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a buyer to acquire Selma Farm and for us to market the castle given the exceptional and spectacular nature of the property.
“It’s not often that you get to market an estate with such historical significance and grandeur that includes a castle, a conference center, a golf course, a hunting lodge, fishing lakes, a shooting range, hiking/horseback trails and a stable.”
The grandeur of the estate, in fact, earned it coverage early in February in no less a source than The Wall Street Journal, in a story headlined “In Missouri, an Italian Renaissance-Style Castle Asks $24.75M.”
History of Jefferson County, Missouri and Festus and Crystal City, Missouri, a compilation privately published by Festus resident Howard C. Litton in 1987, provides background on the origin of the improved property.
In the 1850s, a dapper, wealthy “gentleman adventurer from Falworth, Kentucky” named Col. Ferdinand Kennett and his wife had started to construct a residence on the property, according to Litton’s compilation.
One of Kennett’s guests “suggested he build something on the order of hunting lodges of the old world style,” the compilation relates. “In the course of the conversation that followed, he described in detail an old castle he had visited during a continental tour. The description caught the fancy of Kennett and he insisted that his friend make a rough drawing of the appearance and the general design of the building he had in mind.”
From there, as often happens, everything snowballed. The Kennetts’ enthusiasm eventually led to the construction of a nine-bedroom, six-bathroom structure that a press release from the property’s co-marketers indicates was modeled after the late 11th-/early 12th-century northern Italian Castello di Vezio.
“It’s important to note that a potential buyer could come from a variety of groups that include private individuals, corporations and resort operators,” Hilton says by way of additional perspective. “Given the secluded and private nature of the castle, we were able to employ comprehensive photography of the site for the first time that really puts the castle grounds in perspective.”
As numerous contemporary photographs on Selma Farm’s website attest, Kennett’s Castle, with related structures and acreage, should boggle the mind of anyone except perhaps the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II and her Buckingham Palace cohort.
From those photos – tellingly, earlier photos, from the 1930s and ’40s, grace the collection of the U.S. Library of Congress – the main structure boasts impeccable stonework and categorically glorious woodwork.
Anyone interested in such a glorious estate may well want to contact one of Selma Farm’s marketers forthwith and even posthaste for the residential deal of a lifetime – even if the property does likely lack the Lady of the Lake brandishing Excalibur.
Cushman & Wakefield, 7700 Forsyth Blvd., Suite 1210, St. Louis,
Selma Farm, selmafarms.com
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