DALTON — The Crane family’s influence on the town of Dalton is reflected in the numerous mansions that family members built on the west side of town near the Pittsfield town line.
One of the largest and most luxurious of those 19th and early 20th century homes is Chilton House on 101 Main St.
Built in 1915 by Winthrop Murray Crane Jr., the only son of former Governor and U.S. Senator W. Murray Crane, the 14-bedroom brick Georgian revival style mansion contains 12,986-square feet, according to a real estate listing, and has five chimneys. It is on the National Register of Historic Paces as part of Dalton’s Craneville Historic District, and is the state’s largest single-family residential home, according to the website chilton.live/history.
Now this venerable structure has a new owner.
Former owners Ian and Lucia Nevitt recently sold the mansion for $1.2 million to Henstebo-Chilton LLC, which is run by Henry Bonis, according to documents on file at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds and the Secretary of State’s office.
Bonis could not be reached for comment, and it is unclear what his plans are for the property. But he has yet to obtain a mortgage. The mortgages that the Nevitts had on the property were discharged earlier this month by Alliant Credit Union because they were “secured, fully paid and satisfied”, according to registry documents.
Chilton House was owned by the Crane family until 1997, as both Winthrop Murray Crane Jr., who died in 1968, and his son, Winthrop Murray Crane III, who died in 1997, lived there. But the house has had several owners since the executors of Winthrop Murray Crane III’’s estate sold it in 2000 and has been through numerous ups and downs.
The town of Dalton took the property by tax title in 2003 when a former owner owed more than $14,000 in back tax revenue, according to registry documents. There were also two foreclosures. The property was sold by J.P. Morgan Chase in 2005 and Citibank in 2010, before the Nevitts purchased it in 2015, according to registry documents.
With the property constantly changing hands, Chilton House began to deteriorate and was in serious need of an upgrade by 2016, according to the website on the home’s history. The most visible sign of decay was an abandoned swimming pool. Trees began to grow out of the chimneys.
But the Nevitts renovated the property, through a multiyear restoration project. They added a new boiler, replaced the home’s outdated electrical system, restored the grounds, and painted both the interior and exterior of the structure. They removed the trees growing in the chimneys last year.