One of Ridgefield's most stately mansions has had a long and interesting history. Sunset Hall was built around 1912 by James Stokes, a U.S. ambassador, and is situated on the shore of Round Pond on West Mountain. The house later belonged to Dr. L.D. Weiss, a relative of the magician, Houdini; to a Brooklyn beer baron named Rubel; and Ruloff E. Cutten.
In 1946, the United Nations looked at the home and the 110-acre estate as a location for its headquarters, but chose a community 50 miles to the southwest instead -- and you can see the skyline of that community, New York City, from the "Widow's Walk" on the roof. In 1951, IBM wanted to buy the place to use as either a corporate country club or research center, but the deal never went through.
After that, it became a novitiate for Catholic priests in the order of St. Vincent dePaul. The order moved out in 1967, the estate was subdivided into the Sachem Hill development, and the mansion restored to use as a house. A subsequent longtime owner was Robert Vaughn, the movie and television actor perhaps most remembered as The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (see Notable Ridgefielders).
The house features 19 rooms, a sunken ballroom, and a spectacular view to the west. In 2007, it was put up for auction with a starting price of more than $10 million, but it failed to sell until in 2008, when the price was $5.5 million.