Price of Northern California ranch, almost the size of San Francisco, Now Reduced by $6 Million


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A Northern California ranch owned by the descendants of late stock market titan Dean Witter has had its price reduced by almost 20 percent, from $31 million to $25 million.

"My comment about why it hasn't sold is really only that we have not exceeded the average marketing time for a property such as this," says listing agent Bill McDavid of Hall and Hall. "In other words, I don't find it unusual that it hasn't sold at this point. It was first listed in mid-May of last year."

As reported in SFGate, Lone Pine Ranch is close to the size of San Francisco as it stretches across 42 square miles. The majority of the property of redwood forests, oak woodlands and grassy meadows spans Trinity and Mendocino counties and is nearly a six-hour drive from the city.

The land includes a 16.5-mile stretch of the Eel River, which is home to salmon and steelhead migrating from the Pacific Ocean.

Built in the mid-1940s when Witter purchased the property in 1942, the 5,300-square-foot historic home with 10 bedrooms and five bathrooms is in front of the river has the feel of an old country lodge you'd surely find in Wyoming. A brick fireplace is the focal point in a grand living room with wood paneled ceilings and picture windows overlooking the rolling hills.

"If I had to restrict my description of this property to one word, I'd use 'authentic,'" McDavid told SFGATE when the property hit the market. "I sell a lot of ranches that are built to look and feel old...but they're not really old and I don't mean to dis them but when you go into this place...it has a feeling of grandma's house mixed with museum because Dean Witter, I gather, was a real Hemingway kind of guy."

Witter, who lived in San Francisco, frequently visited his ranch via a train that stopped on his land. After he passed away in 1969, his heirs have owned the property.

"It has been in the family for 76 years, and there are now 13 owners," Brooks Witter said. "The demographic of ownership is just going to get more complicated with each generation. Considering a third of the family uses it regularly, a third uses it infrequently, and then a third not at all, it feels like the right time to let someone else appreciate."

Since he was 6, Brooks started spending two weeks at the ranch every summer with his family.

"As a kid, we would play in the river, and ride horses every day," says Brooks. "We would drive around and look for wildlife in the back of a truck. There are lots of deer, bear, coyotes, bobcats, porcupine, some mountain lions, wild pigs, lot of bird life. Elk have come back on the property in the last decade."

The ranch also includes four other homes, two bunkhouses, barns, sheds, corrals and the capacity to carry more than 800 cattle and nearly 30 percent of the land is a sustainably managed timber resource.

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