For Sale: Hemingway's Boyhood Home - Design Bureau

The Hemingway home in Oak Park. All images courtesy of J. Michael Welton

Hemingway in his WWI uniform, 1919

For Sale: Hemingway’s Boyhood Home

Monday, February 27th, 2012

by J. Michael Welton

The latest victim of the Great Recession’s gut-wrenching freefall is now on the block.

Ernest Hemingway’s boyhood home in Oak Park, Ill.–the place where he lived, rebelled, and wrote from age seven to 17–has been listed for sale at a ridiculously low $525,000.

That’s a modest $5,000 more than the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park paid for it in 2001.

The three-story residence is significant because it’s the place from which the author began to explore the things he’d later cover in short stories and novels. From there, he’d write for the Park River Forest High School “Trapeze,” still published today. From there, he’d pen his first lines of poetry too.

“He turned his mother’s music room into a boxing ring there,” says John Berry, director of the foundation. “His father took him out into the woods from there–the house was pretty much on the edge of Chicago, because Oak Park was the first Chicago suburb. From there, he fished and canoed the Des Plaines River.”

Berry has touched base already with Hemingway’s last surviving son, Patrick, to no avail. “He’s sympathetic, but it’s not his house,” he said. “He gives mostly to the Kennedy Library, where Hemingway’s archives are.”

He’s not yet contacted the National Trust for Historic Preservation, saying that’s next on the list.

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