One-time home of Booth fails to sell

April 09, 2006|By JUSTIN FENTON

In 1999, the auction of Tudor Hall, the childhood home of John Wilkes Booth in Bel Air, attracted more than 100 people, including an Abraham Lincoln lookalike and a throng of national media representatives.

Last week, when the Gothic-style house on 8 acres was up for auction again, the buzz was barely audible.

At the gathering of about 25 people at the auction Thursday were more observers than bidders, and the house did not sell.

With two officially registered bidders, the price started at $875,000 and quickly dropped until it hit what auctioneer Aimee C. O'Neill dubbed an "unacceptable" price floor of $805,000.

At the previous auction, the winning bid for the home, which was in a state of disrepair, came from Robert Baker, the owner of a landscaping business, who paid $415,000. The contract for the sale was signed on the hood of a car.

Baker and his wife, Beth, have spent about $400,000 renovating the house.

There are no plans to schedule another auction, and the owners will try to sell the house through a real estate agent.

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