MacArthur's mansion in Balto. County under contract

March 04, 2002|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Realtors are close to finding a buyer for the 1917 Baltimore County mansion that was once the home of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Marc Witman, associate broker with Long & Foster Realtors, confirmed last week that Rainbow Hall, the Irish Georgian-style mansion on 19 acres in Green Spring Valley, is under contract.

Witman would not name the potential buyers except to say that they were from the Baltimore area and that settlement could occur as early as next month. The last listing price for the estate in the 10700 block of Park Heights Ave. was $1.75 million.

For 38 years, the property was operated as Baptist Home of Maryland/Delaware Inc. nursing home. Last year, Baptist Home announced to its 43 residents that it would close after defaulting on a $1.6 million loan.

In October, the holder of the lien, Allfirst Bank, tried to auction the house. The auction, however, ended when its highest bid, $1.4 million, was rejected.

News of a possible buyer for the property delighted Stanley Keyser of Keyser Development Corp., which specializes in restoring historic properties. Keyser said he hopes the house, which has 15 bedrooms and 16 full baths, will become a private home again.

"If it's great to begin with, why mess with it?" said Keyser, who once bid $1.9 million for the property. "If you can turn it into a single-family house, God bless you."

The mansion was built in 1917 as financier Edward T. Stotesbury's gift to his stepdaughter, Henriette Louise Cromwell Brooks. Brooks married MacArthur in 1922; after being posted in the Philippines, the couple settled into the mansion in 1925.

They named the estate Rainbow Hill in honor of MacArthur's command of the Rainbow Division of World War I. They divorced in 1929.

Baptist Home brought the property in 1963, changing the name to Rainbow Hall. With its crystal chandeliers, marble fireplaces and marble floors, the house was designated a landmark by the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission in June.

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