VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Tucked away, and draped in ivy sits Oakwell Estate, an 11-acre property that boasts a historic mansion built in 1922.
"They found 500 different species of animals on the property last summer," said former owner John Bennett.
It was a labor of love for Bennett who is now opening his home to the public for an auction on Monday.
On Friday, 6abc got our first look at the interior beauty and the items he's looking to sell.
"There are some items that are for a tag sale and the other items are listed for auction on Monday," said Bennett.
Those items include Italian sculptures, furniture, paintings, and unique figurines.
"I bought the items on my travels throughout the world," said Bennett.
It all has sentimental value, but the property where Bennett raised his family is the real treasure.
"My son died and he's buried in the back. The house and the property are special," he said.
Two years after his son's passing, Bennett says he considered selling the property to Villanova University.
However, the Lower Merion School District was also vying for the property and acquired it through eminent domain, which allows a government entity to take ownership of private property for public use.
Their plan to turn Oakwell's green space into athletic fields drew concern from some community members who are still advocating for the preservation of the property's features.
"We're really trying to be responsive to the concerns that have been expressed in the community about the historical and environmental impact of putting in fields there," said Amy Buckman, director of communications for the Lower Merion School District.
District officials say the mansion will remain intact and will likely be used for education purposes.
"A student art gallery or perhaps some sort of student study nature center so that's all in the works," said Buckman.
There were plans to break ground on the land this summer, right after Bennett vacates the property.
But, those plans are on hold until negotiations are complete.