John Cheever’s House Is for Sale, and It’s a Bargain

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Photo: Houlihan Lawrence

In February 1961, John Cheever, the celebrated writer, moved into 197 Cedar Lane in Ossining, New York. The home was financed by Jerry Wald (a movie producer), Mary Cheever’s savings, and a mortgage. For the first couple of months, wrote Cheever's biographer, he “found it difficult to take possession of his new home and to enjoy it.” But he eventually grew to love the place, particularly for its proximity to the woods and the Hudson. (In the early 1970s, he taught writing classes nearby, at Ossining Correctional Facility.)

The Cedar Lane home would be Cheever’s last: “[H]e could not bring himself to leave the rooms he had painted and the soil he had turned.” He died there on June 18, 1982. Now it can be yours.

Photo: Houlihan Lawrence

197 Cedar Lane, Intelligencer has learned, is now on the market for $525,000 with Houlihan Lawrence. The three-bedroom, three-bathroom home was built in 1795. Set on five acres, it’s been expanded over the years, with an “artist’s studio” added in 1981. “Any visitor will immediately see its potential as a year round residence or a weekend getaway,” according to the listing.

Photo: Houlihan Lawrence

The broker, Bitsey Maraynes — who was in the middle of the first open house when we spoke — told me the property had gone on the market last Thursday. (As a literary point of comparison, Norman Mailer's house in Brooklyn was listed at nearly $2 million more in 2011; apparently no one wants to live in Ossining, even on five acres.) The Cheevers are selling, she said, because “nobody lives here. It’s like any other family. They don’t need the house anymore.”

There have so far been no offers.

Photo: Houlihan Lawrence