Real Estate News: Gangster’s Gambling Den For Selling
A lush Texas farm with ties to some of the state’s most notorious Gangster’s Gambling Den has hit the market asking nearly $12 million.
Fin castle by Athens, about a 90-minute drive from Dallas, encompasses a swath of hilly forest, three spring-fed lakes and a main house that once served as the hideaway and clubhouse of Ivy Miller, a close associate of Las Vegas gambling icon and convicted murderer Benny Binion.
“It was built for the secret gambling society of Dallas, where they would do what guys on the underground do—where they had their rendezvous,” said Bernard Uechtritz, listing agent and founder of Icon Global, an affiliate of Southey’s International Realty.
The most widely reported lore about Miller, who built Fin castle’s main house in the 1950s, is that he allegedly killed a rival encroaching on Binion’s Dallas territory in 1940, setting off a 20-year turf war that resulted in gruesome murders, including men found at the bottom of acid vats and buried in shallow graves of quicklime, according to a 1991 profile of Binion in Texas Monthly.
The estate’s name dates to a time before gangster’s Gambling Den took over the place. In the 1850s the area’s first settlers arrived from the East Coast and established a community on the property that they named after a British governor of Virginia, Lord Fincastle.
It’s the first time in a little over 50 years that the ranch has been available for sale. The estate of Ivy Miller sold off the 1,300-plus-acre property to a private Dallas-based family in the late 1960s, following the gangster’s Gambling Den death, property records show.
The main house has been added onto in the years since and today spans several-thousand square feet, Mr. Uechtritz said. The home features rustic Adirondack-style architecture, with vaulted ceilings, an ornamental stone fireplace and wood paneling, images of the home show. The airy living spaces act like a “communal lodge” with bedrooms off each end of the house, according to the listing agent.
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Too small for cattle ranching, the farm has served for decades as a hobby farm and a weekend home, he added. The forested grounds, lakes and rivers on the ranch are suited to recreational hunting and fishing.
It’s unusual for families to part with modest-sized farms like Fincastle, which tend to be passed down through families, according to the agent, who said they’ve already had some interest in the property since it listed publicly last week.
The next owner will have to choose whether to keep and restore the old gangster’s gambling den, which occupies a scenic spot overlooking Fin castle Lake, or raze the historic property and build something new.
“I think it could go either way,” Mr. Uechtritz said. “If you have someone who’s really interested in having a talking piece, they may opt to save it.”gangster’s gambling den