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Hammersmith Farm

November 14, 1999


Newport, RI (AP) – An unidentified New Englander is the new owner of the Hammersmith Farm – the former summer White House of President John F. Kennedy.

The purchase price for the mansion and its 48-acre property was over $8 million – a new record for residential property in Newport. Fruit of the Loom executive William F. Farley, who purchased the farm two years ago, said the new owner plans to make it a family home.

The house was sold to a limited liability company by a Stonington broker, Jim Michalove, who owns and operates the real estate firm Seaboard Properties at 614 Wheeler Road. The firm, based in Stonington and Watch Hill, specializes in “distinctive” shoreline properties, Michalove said.

Michalove declined to comment on who bought the property.

The Camelot relic will remain closed to the public.

Farley had bought the farm, the childhood home of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, to ensure that the Rhode Island landmark would not be transformed into a hotel or spa, or subdivided into condominiums, he said. He paid $6,675,000 in December 1997.

With the demands of his business making it difficult for him to visit the estate, he decided to sell it. He was convinced the new buyer also intended to protect Hammersmith as a state treasure.

“When I bought the property, I wasn’t sure what the intention was for me personally, except that it would be a private residence, not developed and with the integrity of the estate preserved,” Farley said.

But Farley visited Hammersmith just once since he bought it. Recently, he was approached by someone asking about his plans.

“He wanted to buy it for use as a private home for his family,” Farley said. “I said, do you really want to use it that way? He said he did. I knew of him and of his firm, and I felt both were of high integrity.”

The purchase was made by Hammersmith Preservation Associates, a Rhode Island limited-liability company established on Oct. 21. One of the company’s lawyers declined to comment on the estate’s purchase.

Farley said the new owner would make his own announcement later.

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