Two Shelter Island properties on the market are rumored to have unique histories.
The first, a waterfront Tudor estate on two acres in the Westmoreland section, reportedly was built around 1900 for then-President William McKinley and his mistress. The six-bedroom house was named Primrose and was recently listed for $2.9 million.
There’s no documentation to support that the house was built for McKinley, says listing agent Linda McCarthy of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, but it’s a story the family has handed down. The possibility that the house was built for the former president is mentioned in the 1999 book “Never-Never Land: The Saga of Westmoreland Farm.” The home also hosted a young Babe Ruth and numerous famous golfers.
The cottage has a ton of original details, including Mercer tiles -- handmade tiles by tile-maker Henry Chapman Mercer of Pennsylvania -- surrounding two of the home’s six fireplaces. It is one of only a couple of Tudor-style homes on the island, McCarthy says.
Another Shelter Island property for sale also has rumors of a connection to the Bambino. Babe Ruth is said to have summered on a 22-acre property, called Rolling Acres, which sits on West Neck Bay. After it was put on the market for $7.8 million, listing agent Penelope Moore of Saunders & Associates says she heard from people who told her they used to search the property for baseballs when they were kids.
“He summered there, as a guest of somebody,” Moore says. “All of the kids on the island were enchanted by the possibility that he left something behind.”
The five-bedroom, Gothic-style house was built in about 1890 and has some interesting details, including arched Gothic-style windows and a covered porch with stunning bay views.