Dream Homes

Sag Harbor Victorian Retreat of President Chester Arthur Asks $13.5M

A stunningly renovated Sag Harbor home that once was the summer retreat for a U.S. president has just had its list price reduced.

Located at 20 Union St. and owned by billionaire David Simon, the stately home with presidential history and modern renovations is now asking $13.5 million, down from the $14.2 million it was listed for in 2016. This three-story Victorian mansion has been completely renovated and redesigned by renowned architect Steven Gambrel. The 6-bedroom home is set on a mid-block village lot that spans just over a third of an acre. The property features a heated gunite pool, terraces, landscaping and garage. Inside the 5,900-square-foot home, there’s a library, formal dining and living rooms, chef’s kitchen and family room. A finished basement includes a media room and wine cellar.

image of chester arthur house sag harbor

This historic property was renovated to the specs of Simon and his wife, Jacqueline. The couple, who are from Indiana and have five children, bought 20 Union St. after selling a much larger Hamptons property (616 Ox Pasture Road in Southampton) for $37 million in 2014. Simon has been ranked as high as  No. 267 on the Forbes list of the most wealthy people in the world, with a net worth estimated at $1 billion. He is CEO of the Simon Property Group, a real estate investment firm started by his late father, Melvin Simon.

The white Victorian at 20 Union St. was built in 1796, and came to its landmark claim about a century later, when it became the “Summer White House” of Chester A. Arthur, the 21st U.S. president. Chester rose to the office in 1881, after James Garfield died from an assassin’s gunshot.

image of chester arthur house sag harbor
image of chester arthur house sag harbor

A Vermont native, Arthur was considered a New Yorker. He attended Union College in Schenectady, a now-defunct law school in Ballston Spa (outside of Saratoga Springs), and went on to become a powerful port customs officer and lawyer in political-machine-controlled New York City. He was a player in the Republican Party and such a highly efficient organizer of troops during the Civil War that he was appointed inspector general of the New York state militia. He and Garfield won the White House in part because of Arthur’s efforts to deliver New York to the Republicans in the Electoral College win.

Once he assumed the presidency, Arthur overcame a negative reputation and earned marks as an effective reformer of the civil service. He’s also credited for resurrecting the U.S. Navy by commissioning steel ships. Arthur was a dandy who liked fine clothes, dining and drinking — and also liked to fish. It was convenient for him to summer at 20 Union St., and he did so from 1881-1884. He did not win the GOP nomination for the next election, however, and died in poor health in 1886. But the plaque on 20 Union St. forever tells of the home’s presidential connection.

image of sag harbor house of chester arthur


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