February 26, 2020

John Travolta buys Islesboro mansion

ISLESBORO — Movie and television actor John Travolta recently purchased the 36-room Gripsholm Manor at North Islesboro.

Also known as the George W.C. Drexel Estate, the property was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in May 1985. The purchase price of the mansion, which was previously owned by John Coloprete, was not disclosed. The town’s tax assessment of the property, however, is $669,700.

Located on The Bluff, 35 acres overlooking Penobscot Bay, the imposing mansion was built in 1903 by the architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns of Boston. The soft gray Scottish-Tudor mansion has hardwood floors throughout, eight fireplaces and bathrooms with marble fixtures and brass pipes.

Travolta, a frequent visitor to the island, first made his name on the TV series “Welcome Back, Kotter.” His films include “Saturday Night Fever,” “Grease,” “Urban Cowboy” and “Look Who’s Talking.”

It was while working on the latter film that Travolta became friends with co-star Kirstie Alley and her husband, actor Parker Stevenson. That couple also owns a home on the island of Islesboro, population 579.

Travolta married actress Kelly Preston Sept. 5 in Paris. It was the first wedding for Travolta, 37, and the second for Preston, 28, who starred in the movie “Run.” The couple met while filming “The Experts” in 1988. They are expecting a child next spring.

Travolta has contracted with a Belfast-based building firm to renovate and upgrade the mansion. The work is expected to be completed in time to enable the Travolta family to spend the Christmas season on the island.

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