Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the author of classics like “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Gilded Age” built an estate he named “Stormfield” in 1908. The name was inspired by his short story “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven” about a captain’s travels to the afterlife. Painted in canary yellow and built in the style of a Tuscan villa, the estate had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1923 — it was almost entirely reconstructed but still retains the origin terraces, stone walls, stone pillars, and formal gardens.
Now a slice of both American and literary history, the estate sits at over 28.53 private acres. The main house, a 6,300-square-foot property, is overwhelmed by an enormous estate with old-world fireplaces and coffered ceilings, is overwhelmed by an enormous estate filled with rolling lawns. The listing agents, Laura Freed Ancona of William Pitt and Julia B. of Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, said one of the most important features of the house is the library, where Twain would write during his final years — scholars of his work have been visiting it for decades.
“Since listing the house, I have received notes from fellow agents and community members commenting that this is arguably the most important home in Redding,” Freed Ancona told Mansion Global.
The latest owners, Jake and Erika DeSantis, bought the property for $3.2 million in 2003 but chose to move on as they grow older.
“I love feeling like I’m in the middle of nowhere,” DeSantis said in a statement with Freed Ancona. “Yet we’re only about 60 miles to New York City. While the house is striking, I love walking down the stone steps to the sweeping lawn, the same steps that Mark Twain would have descended. It truly is a joy to live here.”
Called “the father of American literature” and the “best American humorist of all time,” Twain turned his experiences growing up in rural Missouri into classics of American writing. Through the success of works like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and the memoirs of president Ulysses S. Grant, Twain had achieved both respect in literary circles and prosperity that allowed him to build such an estate (although a series of bad investments in the printing press industry led him to die in debt)
The Stormfield Estate was one of his later projects and he lived in it until his death at age 74 in 1910.