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Waterfront mansion in Beverly sells for $18.2 million. See the photos.

The sprawling waterfront mansion on the North Shore sold for $18.275 million.Matt Surette

A sprawling waterfront mansion on the North Shore has sold for $18.275 million, one of the highest recorded residential sales in the area, said the listing agent, George Sarkis of Douglas Elliman.

Known as “Rock Edge,” the Georgian Revival-style mansion spans about 28,000 square feet on a rocky bluff above 400 square feet of private beachfront, according to marketing materials.

The 3.16-acre Beverly estate dates to the early 1900s, when many affluent families from Boston settled in Beverly, about 24 miles away, to build mansions that served as their “summer cottages,” according to the materials.

The 17-room, three-story mansion, located at 34 Paine Ave., was commissioned by Marion Sargent, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. It was eventually acquired by Eleanora Sears, a Boston Brahmin whose ancestors included Jefferson, John Winthrop, and Massachusetts Governor James Sullivan, according to the New England Historical Society.


The living room at 34 Paine Ave. in Beverly. The sprawling waterfront mansion overlooking the ocean on the North Shore sold for $18.275 million.Matt Surette

Sears was considered a pioneer in women’s sports — shattering gender norms and accumulating 240 trophies in her lifetime as a four-time tennis champion, the first women’s squash champion, and an accomplished horsewoman, according to the historical society. She played 19 sports in all, including rifle shooting, boxing, football, and ice skating.

She was also a prominent socialite who often hosted other well-connected guests at her home, including Judy Garland, Harold S. Vanderbilt, and Cole Porter, according to materials. She lived at the mansion until her death in 1968 at age 86.

When Sears died, Victor Jones wrote for the Boston Globe that she was “probably the most versatile performer that sports has ever produced — not just the most versatile female performer, but the most versatile, period.”

The Benevento family purchased the property in 1970. In the years since, the 11-bedroom, 12-bathroom grand estate underwent an extensive renovation overseen by Charlie Benevento, who owns Benevento Companies in Wilmington. Linda Zarifi was tapped for the interior design.


The kitchen at 34 Paine Ave. in Beverly. Matt Surette

The renovation featured original characteristics such as exterior Tuscan columns and 16-foot ceilings with restored crown molding. The mansion has a brick facade with limestone embellishments and a slate roof.

The living room has floor-to-ceiling windows and opens up to a veranda that faces the ocean. The kitchen spans 1,500 square feet and features two islands and a separate butler’s pantry.

The mansion also has a formal dining room, music room, game room, and study. In total, there are 14 wood-burning fireplaces.

Only five families have access to the beach in front of Rock Edge. A cabana original to the property was restored and includes multiple dressing rooms and facilities.

In her heyday, according to materials, Sears would “occasionally walk from Rock Edge to the city, her chauffeur following with sandwiches and drinks.” Beverly now has a number of shops and cafes downtown.

The home came on the market in July 2021 before being sold last week.

The study at 34 Paine Ave. in Beverly.Matt Surette
The dining room at 34 Paine Ave. in Beverly.Matt Surette
The sprawling waterfront mansion overlooking the ocean on the North Shore sold for $18.275 million.Matt Surette

Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.