If anyone fears losing their peace and quiet when St Helena’s airport opens, they might consider buying their own island retreat. One has come up for sale in America, and handily, it’s called St Helena. Just under half of it is on the market, for $7 million.
The 16-acre island is almost completely encircled by two bays in a long coastal inlet, just across the water from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Owners Ed and Debbie Hartman say they love the lifestyle they have created after restoring their cottage-cum-mansion and six acres of garden.
It has 175 feet more sandy beach than its namesake in the South Atlantic.
A local story says a past owner named it in honour of a business partner who was descended from Napoleon, but that turns out not to be true. Even so, it has had colourful moments in its history.
After World War Two it was the base of an club with a casino that regularly hosted members of Congress, judges, and other prominent citizens. In 1951, five illegal slot machines were seized in a police raid and their owners were prosecuted.
In the 1950s it was proposed as a prison for the criminal insane, but the idea came to nothing. Cart roads run through mature gardens from the landing stage to the main cottage, which is 191 feet long.
A water tower has been converted into an office with 360-degree views across the bay, with antenna to allow radio communication to boats and stations around the world. The owner has a business running yachting shows.
The sales brochure describes various rooms in The Cottage, including a library, a north hall, a butler’s pantry and a rotunda:
“The centerpiece of the home is the octagonal rotunda with its four radiating halls, east and west to the outside and north and south to other portions of the house. The ceiling is quite high with a polished brass hanging chandelier that can be lowered electrically for cleaning. Double exterior doors and French interior doors east and west allow great views of the water and gardens.”
Song birds and ducks live among the mature trees, azaleas and lilies in the gardens.
Any buyer must sign a short legal agreement to protect the privacy of life on the island, which is shared with one other family who own the southern nine acres.
The brochure concludes:
“Life on the island is what you make it. Splitting and hauling wood for the fireplaces and stoves, catching and cooking your own meals, meandering through the island isolation, secure from intrusion, enjoying peace and total quiet other than birds and waves, all in a world of your own beauty, yet in the middle of eight million busy souls and minutes from every need, can be achieved nowhere else but St Helena Island.”
St Helena Island, Maryland – including sale brochure