WEALTHY REAL ESTATE developer and Jasper native B. Edward Ewing is used to buying and selling property, but one piece of his empire is particularly close to his heart. Big Tree Farm, a private residence he’s owned for almost four decades, just hit the market last week. Parked in the midst of a carefully managed woodland that sits between the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, it’s been one of Ewing’s favorite residences for nearly 40 years—and it shows. Here’s a few observations of the Santa Claus, Indiana estate:
Anyone who wants a tour had better wear comfortable shoes. This isn’t the sort of listing where you can walk in, glance around and make a snap decision. We’re talking about 50,762 square feet of roofed buildings scattered across the 550-acre estate. “If you really want to appreciate it, I would say it’s a two- or three-hour tour,” reckons the property’s agent, Kara Hinshaw of Key Associates Signature Realty.
And you might want to use a golf cart to tour the grounds. The property was originally farmland, but over Ewing’s 37 years of ownership the fields have been replaced with turkey- and deer-filled woodland. There are also eight lakes; mountain biking and ATV trails; 3.5 miles of paved walking trails; firepits; a shooting range; a lighted tennis court; a basketball court; horseshoe pits; and gardens. To name just some of the amenities.
It could be a paradise for Yellowstone cosplayers. The estate’s main residence is a three-story log home similar to the lodges at Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, complete with timbered ceilings and a three-story dry stack stone fireplace. The main-level great room offers expansive views of the property via floor-to-ceiling windows.
You’ll never have to worry about how to accommodate unexpected guests. The compound’s six-bedroom, six-and-a-half bathroom guest quarters are so expansive they have their own name—The Stables. No foldout couches here. The three guest suites are each named after Kentucky Derby winners, and modeled after the rooms at the Four Seasons Hotel New York. The Stables also has its own pool, workout facility, and firepit.
If you buy this property, you’ll have to host all your family’s get-togethers in perpetuity. The estate’s many, many outbuildings include the aptly named Entertainment Facility, a 9,184-square-foot edifice that can accommodate 600 seated guests. Tricked out to resemble a Texas roadhouse (the traditional music venue, not the chain restaurant), it includes a stage that’s hosted Charley Pride, Alabama, and Kris Kristofferson, among many others. There’s also a wraparound saloon-style bar, a fog machine, laser lighting and a catering kitchen.
You can grab a milkshake or a grilled cheese any time you want one. Next to the Entertainment Facility sits a 2,400-square-foot, 1950s-style diner. Each table has its own fully operational mini jukebox. The building can accommodate 150 guests, and includes a professional sound system and a fully functional, never-ridden Harley-Davidson motorcycle suspended over the bar.
If you buy it, you’ll always have someplace to park your car—plus 249 others. How many times have you said to yourself, “I couldn’t resist buying that second 1965 Shelby GT350 Fastback, but there’s no more room in the garage so I’ll have to leave it sitting in the driveway?” Well, fret no more. Big Tree Farm’s long list of amenities includes a 27,750-square-foot Classic Car Museum, complete with an auto maintenance area and temperature-controlled parking for 250 vehicles. And not a single drop of oil, antifreeze, or transmission fluid on the gleaming floors.