BUYER WANTED: Ernest Hemingway’s Chicago Home at 1239 N. Dearborn Street Listed for Sale

Ernest Hemingway’s Chicago Home, 1239 N. Dearborn Street, 1895. Photo credit: Redfin
Ernest Hemingway’s Chicago Home, 1239 N. Dearborn Street, 1895. Photo credit: Redfin
Ernest Hemingway’s Chicago Home, 1239 N. Dearborn Street, 1895. Photo credit: Redfin

“A Chicago brownstone where an unknown Ernest Hemingway bided his time before setting off to Paris is now for sale for $2 million.

“Hemingway lived on the top floor of the Chicago home at 1239 N. Dearborn St. for three months at the end of 1921. He was a young newlywed, making $52 a week writing advertisements for a dubious publication that would soon go bankrupt, according to scholars of Hemingway and Gioia Diliberto, author of a book about Hemingway’s first wife, ‘Paris Without End.’

“In one of his letters the nascent novelist, who grew up in suburban Oak Park, bragged to a friend he paid just $75 a month without a lease for the ‘pretty high grade shop,’ in what was not yet the opulent stretch of Gold Coast now occupied by the city’s richest.

“But his first wife Hadley Richardson found the ‘grimy, top-floor walk-up’ to be a ‘cramped, shabby apartment in a poor neighborhood,” with ‘tiny rooms and ugly, broken-down furniture depressing, and she tried to be away from the apartment as much as possible,’ Diliberto wrote in her book.

“‘Hemingway was not yet Hemingway. He was just another aspiring writer,’ Dilliberto said. “They were on their way, but this was the initial struggle.’

“The place, which Hemingway also described in his letter as an ‘old joint made into apartment,’ is now part of a five-bedroom home across three floors, also including two street-level studios, a coach house and a two-car garage, most recently divvied up as rentals.

“It’s the first time the home has been for sale in 55 years, said agent Steve Rachman of Marcus & Millichap Chicago Apartment Brokers. The listing was first reported by Dennis Rodkin of Crain’s Chicago.

“The house does not bear any remnants of Hemingway’s time there, beyond a plaque later installed out front and framed magazine covers of the future American icon now covering a hallway on the bottom floor.

“‘People don’t seem to realize the history until they get here for the showing,’ Rachman said.”

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

 

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