The former home of American author J.D. Salinger is up for sale asking $679K. As reported by the Valley News, Salinger purchased the place in 1953 after separating from his first wife, by which time he had achieved both critical and commercial success with the 1951 publication of The Catcher in the Rye. He made the move to Cornish from his apartment in Manhattan (300 57th Street), and it's in the small New Hampshire town where his reputation as a recluse solidified, but according to a 2010 article in the New York Times, Salinger was a relatively active member of the community.
Salinger, who sold the house in the '60s but stayed in town, is said to have voted in elections, attended town meetings at the Cornish Elementary School, and been a mainstay at $12 roast beef dinners at First Congregational Church in nearby Hartland, Vermont. (Normal activities, sure, but surprising ones, coming from a man who is believed to have built a six-and-a-half-foot fence around his property after a high school student duped him into giving an interview to the local paper.) Locals, embodying what one resident once described to the New York Times as "the code of the hills," have boasted since his death in 2010 of misdirecting the throngs of eager English majors that came looking for their resident writer. According to the owner of a local general store, just how far these misdirections took Salinger pilgrims "depended on how arrogant they were... Everyone knew Batman existed, and everyone knows there's a Batcave, but no one will tell you where it is."
Naturally, the listing plays up the seclusion angle, declaring that "land on both sides of the road ensures privacy." The local account backs this up, placing the home "a mile and a half down a winding, bumpy dirt road flanked by 'No Trespassing' signs." The current owner, who has filled the 2,900-square-foot abode with fuzzy pink footstools, orange accents, and all kinds of rusticity, bought it in the 1980s, though it dates back to 1939, when it was built by a descendant of Augustus Saint-Gaudens on land once owned by the eminent American sculptor, who founded the Cornish Art Colony in 1885. The five-bedroom has exposed beams, wood-paneled ceilings with a barn-like slant, and sits on 12 acres. According to the Valley News, the current owner had been considering advertising the house in the New Yorker, in the hopes of reeling in the literary types.
· Salinger's First Secluded Cornish Property Put Up for Sale [Valley News]
- Valley News
- J.D. Salinger