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March 6, 2019

Bar Harbor landmark property hits the market

Courtesy / Bar Harbor Historical Society As it prepares to close on property for its new headquarters, the Bar Harbor Historical Society is listing this week its current quarters, a landmark structure at 33 Ledgelawn Ave.

A Bar Harbor landmark, currently housing the Bar Harbor Historical Society, has been listed for sale.

Located in a quiet residential neighborhood, 33 Ledgelawn Ave., a Tudor Revival structure built in 1916, will officially be listed on the Multiple Listing Service on March 7, with a listing price of $795,000, Kim Swan, of Swan Agency Sotheby's International Realty, told Mainebiz by email.

Swan, a member of the society’s board of directors, is handling the listing.

The potential buyer pool for the property is huge, she said.

“’In-town" Bar Harbor properties are in very high demand,” she said. “33 Ledgelawn was the St. Edward’s Convent, it has been a residence and it has been the Bar Harbor Historical Society Museum since 1997. I wouldn't be surprised to see someone buy this and make a spectacular residence.”

The building has 10 bedrooms.

“That opens up so many opportunities,” she added.

The three-story building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1916 by Col. Edward Morrell and his wife Louise, and was given to the Holy Redeemer Church, according to the release. Morrell died before the dedication in 1918, but his and Louise's likenesses are reproduced in stained-glass windows in the chapel on the second floor dedicated to him.

An interesting historical spinoff is connected with Louise Morrell. She was a sister to Katharine Drexel, a wealthy Philadelphia socialite who founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and used her inheritance to start schools and a university. When Drexel visited her sister in Bar Harbor, she stayed at St. Edward's Convent. Drexel was canonized in Rome in 2000. At that time, she was only the second American citizen to be so honored.

After being sold by the church, and before being acquired by the historical society, 33 Ledgelawn was used as a bed-and-breakfast. The first floor is used for museum displays and meeting spaces. Along with the chapel on the second floor are offices and additional storage.

The listing comes as the society prepares to close on the purchase of “La Rochelle,” the headquarters of the Maine Seacoast Mission. The historic La Rochelle mansion was built on the waterfront at 127 West St. in 1902.

Plans are in the works for the mission to move its headquarters to Northeast Harbor.

According to the release, the property at 33 Ledgelawn is being sold to help the society’s acquisition of La Rochelle, which the society plans to convert to a living history museum headquarters and archive. However, Swan clarified that the purchase of La Rochelle is not dependent on the sale of 33 Ledgelawn.

The purchase of La Rochelle is expected to finalize in early April, she said. Thereafter, there’s a bit of a juggling act in terms of transitions. The mission will be renting back the second floor of La Rochelle until their new headquarters in Northeast Harbor is complete, she said. The timing for the society’s move to La Rochelle will depend on the sale of 33 Ledgelawn.

The society is about halfway to completing its fundraising for the La Rochelle purchase, according to the release. With the purchase-and-sale agreement signed last October, the society committed to raising $4.75 million, according to its website

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