Stillwater Home in Minnesota: 1995-2004

San Jose Mercury News, April 7, 1995:
Jessica Lange is moving back to her home state of Minnesota.

Lange and longtime companion Sam Shepard recently bought a home in Stillwater, Minn., planning to move there this summer, says publicists Leslee Dart.

The couple's children, Hannah, 9, and Walker, 7 - plus Shura, Lange's 14- year-old daughter with Mikhail Baryshnikov - are moving with them. They plan to sell the Charlottesville, Va., farm, where they've been living for nearly 13 years, Dart says.

St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 25, 2004:
Stillwater estate is for sale for $3.3 million.

The well-known house on North Fourth Street sits on one of the largest lots in the city -- 2.5 acres -- and "provides sweeping views of the town, the St. Croix River and the historic lift bridge," according to a recent listing on a real estate agent's Web site. It is described as a "quiet retreat like no other in the city" and "one of the finest residential properties in the historic village of Stillwater."

The 6,000-square-foot home, built in 1892, was renovated by Lange and Shepard in the mid-1990s. The property includes a guesthouse, carriage house, swimming pool, tiered gardens, small fruit orchard, ponds and woods. It is fenced for privacy and protected by a security system.

Sources say Lange, 55, and Shepard, 60, are moving to New York. Lange said she returned to Minnesota in 1995 so she could spend more time with her mother, who lived in the house next door to the Lange-Shepard home before she died in 1997. Her mother's house -- also on North Fourth Street --reportedly was sold earlier this year.

Lange said, "I'm ready to move back to New York. This is a nice place to raise children. But there's no reason for me to be here anymore." The couple's 18-year-old daughter recently graduated from Stillwater Area High School; their 17-year-old son will reportedly finish high school in New York.

St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 1, 2004:
Going, going, gone... Actress Jessica Lange sells items at auction

Movie star Jessica Lange might be moving to New York, but at least we'll still have her 18th century commode stand to remember her by. The Stillwater actress put about 40 of her antiques and paintings on the auction block at a Roseville auction house. Watching them sell Wednesday evening - for about $27,000 - was the hottest ticket in town.

About 300 people attended the sold-out, standing-room-only event at Rose Galleries, and still more put in bids over the telephone. Lange's items were interspersed throughout the general arts auction and generated a buzz when they were offered.

"She has really beautiful things - not that I can afford them," said Gina Munter, an auction regular. "I'm waiting to bid on some paperweights."

Lange's collection included hand-colored French lithographs, a metal birdcage, Oriental rugs, that 18th century English mahogany commode stand (which sold for $1,000), and several paintings.

"Cows and sheep are a big theme for her," Sonia Vacinek, one of the auction house owners, said of Lange's Victorian-era paintings.

The most expensive piece sold was a Daum Nancy cameo glass lamp for $9,500; the least, a pair of matching Oriental vases mounted as lamps, for $90 each.

St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 1, 2005:
Stillwater Lange-Shepard estate priced to sell

Will dropping the price and dividing the property help move Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard's sprawling Stillwater estate? Their real estate agent hopes so.

A year ago, the Oscar-winning actress's well-known house and property on North Fourth Street was listed at $3.3 million. Now the price has dropped to $2,644,000.

Agent Sharon O'Flannigan said Tuesday the main house and guest house/pool house are also being offered separately - for $1,995,000 and $649,000 respectively - although the preference is to sell them together.

O'Flannigan said that although the price of the estate has dropped substantially, "realistically, in the east metro, it's still a big number."

December 23, 2005:
Prospective home buyers wanting a brush with fame might now be able to step up.

Months after actress Jessica Lange and playwright Sam Shepard spent millions for a new home on New York's Fifth Avenue, their yellow Victorian showplace in Stillwater remains for sale at a drastically reduced price.

"That's a spectacular property," said Mark Berthelsen of Keller Williams Premier Realty, who said Lange bought the former bed and breakfast in 1994 for $415,000. Back then, he said, "Everyone thought she overpaid for it."

When Lange put the house on the market in May 2004, she wanted $3.3 million. Now it's going for $1.995 million. The guest house on the lower portion of the 1.3-acre property, which was included in the original price, now can be negotiated separately.

J.L. Family Trust of Beverly Hills, Calif., is listed as the house's owner. Records indicate the home's taxable value in 2006, without the guest house property, will be $809,700.

Sharon O'Flannigan, the property's principal real estate agent, said that sales of more expensive houses are "extremely slow," caught in a downturn that might be a result of a saturated buyer's market.

Unlike others, of course, the Lange-Shepard house on the "North Hill" has the advantage of its celebrity image. O'Flannigan said the 1892 Victorian was "literally rebuilt" after Lange and Shepard moved in.

Excerpts from the March 2006 issue of Architectural Digest:

Jessica Lange - The actress returns to her Minnesota roots and imagines an endless spring

"I had this kind of romantic image of the children growing up not dissimilarly to the way I grew up in a small town where they could walk to school. Even more than that, I wanted to raise them close to their extended family."

"We had to kind of reconstruct it. There was quite a bit of work to do on the house. There was more work to do on the property."

That's a somewhat coy way of describing the two acres of scrub that had to be cleared away, the walls and steps of locally quarried limestone that were installed to terrace the sloping grounds, and the nine years of intensive gardening that would go into beautifying them.

Jessica started out modestly enough. "I was going to work on one little area, a tiny horseshoe garden by the house that hadn't been planted or designed or anything. I then had the idea that off of that central garden I would create three gardens, one for each of my children. I wanted, through colors and plants and light and shade, to capture what I felt was the essence of each of them.

For Shura, Jessica designed a purple-rich tapestry of lilacs, violets, irises and hydrangeas; after Shura was married in the garden, Jessica added a birdhouse modeled after the wedding cake.

"With Hannah, I wanted to do the kind of flowers and plants that women encountered when they first came across the prairie. So there are a lot of earthy, powerful plants - echinacea, monarda, yarrow."

Her son's patch is equally distinctive. "There were some beautiful oak trees at the side of the property. There was something very mysterious and quiet and peaceful back in that area, so I decided to make it Walker's garden. I left everything that was wild, like the toad lilies, trillium, violets and jack-in-the-pulpit. But I put in a lot of shade-loving plants, a lot of moss and hostas."

An avid angler, Walker also got a small pond with a copper fountain of an angel holding a fish. That inspired the idea of adding water to the garden. Before long, Jessica was spending eight hours a day - during Minnesota's warm months - working in the garden.

"There was a pond, and then there was a waterfall, and then there was a stream, and then there was another pond, and then - you know..."

Each of the children's gardens contains a water feature. Between Hannah's and Walker's gardens, there is a Monet-inspired pond, surrounded by yellow-and-blue-flowering plants, and at the bottom of the hill there's a large lily pond.

"At one point a big tree came down in a storm, and suddenly there was a space that needed to be addressed. I had become friendly with the monks and the Rinpoche at a Buddhist monastery in Minneapolis, so I decided that in their honor, I would build a Buddha garden based on the wheel of dharma. Then, because the Buddha garden looked like it was stranded in the middle of the yard, I had another pond built."

"Then I saw the pictures of Sissinghurst and thought, 'Oh well, I have to have a white garden.'" For that garden she created a quiet tableau of Casablanca lilies, white thistles, daisies, white-blooming hostas - "every white flower that we could grow there."

Set just below the house, the terrace is a family hub in the summer. "You can see the river from there, and it's beautiful."

A few years ago Jessica and Sam acquired an adjacent lot, remodeled its swimming pool and build a guesthouse on the property. "Suddenly I had a whole other acre to design. But I kept it really wild. It's almost all woods except for right around the pool and poolhouse."

St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 25, 2008:
Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard's estate on Stillwater's North Hill is on the market - again.

The Oscar-winning actress and the award-winning playwright and actor pulled their former home off the market last fall, but it recently was listed for $1.95 million. The real-estate agent is Frank Roffers of SKY Sotheby's International Realty.

The estate was for sale in 2004 for $3.3 million. A year later, the selling price had dropped, with the main house (about $2 million) and the guest house/pool house (about $650,000) being offered separately.

A listing on Roffers' Web site describes the property as a "spectacular home and landscape featured in Architectural Digest."

"Rich in history and architecture, this extraordinary estate is situated in the quaint town of Stillwater, just 30 minutes from the Twin Cities," the listing says.

Minneapolis Star Tribune, September 28, 2008:
Lange's Stillwater house has sold for $1.825 million

The home of Stillwater's most famous couple has been sold for $1.825 million to an undisclosed buyer. For the past four years, actress Jessica Lange and playwright Sam Shepard have been trying to sell their estate, located at 903 4th Street N.

They took it off the market last fall and then re-listed it this summer, said Jill Roffers, a real estate agent with SKY Sotheby's International Realty, which handled the sale.

Roffers would not name the buyer, citing a confidentiality agreement. She said the new owner closed on the house last Friday.

The sellers were asking for $1.95 million for the 1892 Victorian home, which sits on 2.5 acres and offers "a breathtaking St. Croix River Valley view," according to the online listing.

In 2004, the couple tried to sell their estate for $3.3 million. They bought the former bed and breakfast for $415,000 in 1994 and raised three children in the house for nine years.

Last winter, Lange, a native of Cloquet, Minn., bemoaned the changes in Stillwater in an interview with the New York Daily News.

"When we first moved to Stillwater it felt like a real place," she told the Daily News. "It had a downtown with a hardware store, a furniture store, a clothing store. Now it's all gift shops and these terrible condominiums. It was a little town with a great deal of character. Everything gets yuppified, I guess."