Stone House up for auction
The Stone House in Little Compton has a May Day date with the auctioneer.
Advertisements posted by the Irving Schechtman & Co. auction firm state that the bidding will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 1, on the premises at 122 Sakonnet Point Road.
Up for auction will be 2.7 acres of land near Sakonnet Point, house, barn, outbuildings, "all equipment, furniture, fixtures and any and all other tangible and intangible property."
The house has 11,000 square feet of interior space, and the barn 8,500. Together they have 19 bedrooms, 16 full bathrooms, and three partial bathrooms.
The auction comes not long after owners of the 160-year-old Stone House abruptly shut the place down and put the property up for sale through Gustave White Sotheby's International in Newport with an asking price of $6.9 million. The closure came as especially bad news to over a dozen couples with wedding receptions scheduled there.
Rockland Trust, of Rockland, Mass. holds a $5.8 million mortgage on the property, according to a 2013 license renewal application filed with the Town of Little Compton by Round Pond Management Corporation.
Round Pond operates the Stone House, and three of its corporate officers signed the application for four licenses the Stone House was seeking be renewed by the town — Class BV beverage, entertainment, holiday sales, and victualing.
The business owes property taxes to Little Compton for the years 2012 and 2013 totaling $25,407. On December 19, 2013, the Little Compton Town Council approved all four licenses, subject to the Stone House's ability to meet all legal requirements.
That didn't happen. The Stone House was not in compliance, said Town Clerk Carol Wordell, so the licenses have not been issued.
Russell Morin Fine Catering of Newport holds an exclusive contract with the Stone House to cater weddings there.
"I started getting bad vibes this January," said Russ Morin, who heads Morin Catering. "About a month ago I got the word that Rockland Trust had called the note."
Mr. Morin said he was committed to cater weddings for 13 brides and three or four rehearsal dinners over the spring and summer, so he says he gave the Stone House managers an ultimatum.
They didn't provide the assurances he needed, Mr. Morin said, and so he informed the brides.
"This has taken over my life," he said, "trying to deal with frantic brides" and helping them find other reception sites.
The late Tod Moore, who had owned the property since 1975 and lived next door, sold it in 2007 for $5.4 million to Goosewing Hotels and Resorts.
Goosewing's principals — Craig Pishotti and Zachary Miller — invested heavily in the place, renovating it over a two-year period at a cost estimated at $12 million — The television show This Old House even did a one-episode shoot there and the hosts marveled at the quality of materials and workmanship and the two-foot thick stone walls.
On April 25, 2008 the Stone House was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
The four-story stone structure was built in 1854 by David Sisson, an iron and textile manufacture. It has served as a private residence, speakeasy, inn, conference center, tavern, restaurant, and wedding site. After a period of decline, improvements began in 1959, first by the Rawson family and then by the Moores