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MAHOMET — Would you sip your morning coffee in the glass-enclosed conservatory, or by the fireplace in the two-story great room, or perhaps outside on the flagstone porch overlooking the lush grounds?

Or, maybe sometimes you wouldn't even be waking up in your ginormous English Arts and Crafts-style mansion at all.

You'd be starting your day with a view of the Sangamon River from your rustic two-story log cabin, which also just happens to be part of your estate, along with a motor coach pavilion and your very own fruit orchard growing apples, cherries, peaches and plums for the picking.


This 197-acre property, which also comes with its own name, Hidden River, will be auctioned off this summer, with bids starting at a mere fraction of the original sales price.

Located at 438 County Road 2600 N in Mahomet, Hidden River was once listed at $14.9 million, and most recently on the market for $6.9 million.

The minimum bid at auction will be $850,000, according to Michael Fine, principal of the Deerfield auction house Fine & Company.

Fine said he has divided the 197 acres into three tracts, and on July 22 will be accepting sealed bids on them individually or together.

Hidden River is one of the homes of Bruce Artwick, a University of Illinois graduate and creator of the first consumer flight simulator software that eventually became Microsoft Flight Simulator.

"The owner of the home owns a number of homes, and is not spending any significant time in this home," Fine said. "They don't live anywhere full-time."

The Mahomet property has a gated entrance, and there's quite the winding drive through the grounds before reaching the main house.

Built in 2003 with energy-efficient and technology features, it was modeled after an upstate New York estate, according to Fine.

The house has 15,000 square feet of living space, plus 4,000 square feet of storage and mechanical feet, he said.

It has five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, both formal and informal dining and living spaces, an elevator, two garages and a large kitchen in which the floor is made of several-hundred-year-old Jerusalem stone.

Some other features in the house: Pecan wood flooring; a library; a "dog's room" where dogs can enter from a fenced-in area from the back; and a basement with a partly-finished area that includes a spa and gym.

Up several flights of stairs, there is a cupola and an exterior widow's walk to take in sweeping views of the grounds.

Five washers and three dryers in the house stay, said Paul Galanis, who is working with Fine on the house auction.

Some of them are in an upstairs laundry room with views out the windows that could make it challenging to focus on folding socks and towels.

But, Galanis said, "now it doesn't seem like so much drudgery."

Not far from the house is a 4,170-square-foot building, called the "motor car pavilion" with space to display a dozen cars.

A short golf cart jaunt away from the house and along the river is the two-story, rustic cabin get-away.

Galanis walks around the cabin and takes in the river and wooded setting.

"You don't even know you're near the house," he marvels.

Fine said the largest of the three tracts up for bid, 112 acres, includes the mansion, log cabin and car pavilion. Another 50-acre tract includes the northern-most 50 acres with both sides of river frontage, and the third is 35-acre piece of ground.

Fine said he believes the Artwick house to be the most expensive property up for auction in Illinois outside the Chicago area, based on his own research.