Historic Clocker's Fancy goes to the state, after all

June 23, 1994|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Sun Staff Writer

After two close calls, state preservationists finally have won their battle to buy Clocker's Fancy, the St. Mary's County estate that may contain the oldest wood-frame residence in Maryland.

Owners of the 19-acre waterfront parcel next to Historic St. Mary's City, the site of Maryland's first capital, agreed yesterday to sell the property to the state for $350,000.

The agreement came after a series of events that included the auction company chipping in $20,000 to lift the state's $330,000 bid past a last-minute competing bid of $340,000.

Earlier in the year, the sellers rejected a $300,000 offer from the state.

In an effort to get top dollar, they put the property up for auction Saturday.

During the auction, the state had bid $320,000, an offer topped by a $325,000 bid from a St. Mary's County resident. With the consent of the sellers, the auctioneer gave the state until 5 p.m. yesterday to increase its offer.

Earlier yesterday, the Board of Public Works authorized a $330,000 offer for the property plus $32,000 for the agent's commission, for a total outlay of $362,000.

The owners accepted the state's bid, but only after it was supplemented by the $20,000 contribution from the auctioneer, Homestead Auction Co. of Hollywood, Md., to make the total price $350,000.

That exceeded the last-minute $340,000 bid from the third party identified by the auctioneer as Stuart McHenry of Scotland, Md.

Seeing the higher bid come in, Homestead's principals "took it upon themselves to increase the state's bid, so the state could have it," said Homestead's secretary Madeline Sandy. "We wanted the state to get it."

The auctioneer reduced its $32,000 commission to $12,000 and applied the difference to the state's offer.

The sale agreement marked the end of three years of negotiations between the state preservation officials, who want to restore the house as an exhibit of life in Colonial Maryland, and out-of-town owners Barbara Barrineau and Christine Brandon, who inherited Clocker's Fancy in 1991.

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