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Location: Houston, Texas
The Skinny: Gene Van Dyke made his fortune as one of the country's last of an adventurous breed of oilmen known as wildcatters; for decades, the Houston-based Van Dyke Energy Company drilled exploratory oil and gas wells throughout the United States, Alaska, and Holland's North Sea, and at one point had 27M acres of exploration and drilling rights in Africa, or "more deepwater rights than Shell, ExxonMobil and BP combined," according to a 2001 Forbes piece. Van Dyke's 11,737-square-foot mansion, on the market for $14.5M, is filled with an interesting mix of wallpapers, upholstery, rugs, and other types of patterned decor that often seem to be at odds with one another. But it's the rest of the property's 2.8 acres that's the real eye-catcher, anyway, boasting three separate pools, one of which, apparently, "is thought to be one of the largest private pools in the U.S." There's also a full-size tennis court with lights and stands, as well as a party pavilion with a bar, a stage big enough for an orchestra, and an outdoor kitchen. And, for good measure, lion statues guarding every entrance.