Sunday, October 18, 2015

Anthony Boucher House for Sale

So I was skimming the local real estate ads this morning and came across a home for sale listed as 'The Anthony Boucher House' Really? How many people in the market for a home in Berkeley at this price remember Anthony Boucher aka Tony White? Well, mystery folks, science fiction people, for sure. I'd been there several times in the past to pick up Phyllis White, his widow, to take her to meetings, and then again for Phyllis's memorial. I never met Tony. The house is located on a quiet street in South Berkeley, but just off Telegraph Avenue. Not a particularly tony neighborhood, but walking distance to campus. This has its pluses and a lot of minuses. So I went to the Internet to find out more about the house. Oh, did I mention that it's selling for $1,5000,000. The last time I was there, I did some washing up in the kitchen. Clearly the kitchen has been remodeled since then, and the garden looks charming.... but $1,500,000. Really? I'm sure they'll get it, home prices being what they are in the Bay Area. I just found it amusing that the realtors are marketing the property as The Anthony Bouchercon House! Ah...memories...

2643 Dana Street, Berkeley: The Anthony Boucher House: $1,500,000 
Four bedrooms two baths with a bonus space (workshop/exercise room?) and half bath

From the Family to the Next Owner:

I love the traditional layout, large rooms and generous backyard, as well as the fact that our family has so much history here.

We’ve enjoyed many holidays and memorable family events in this home. I especially love that my daughter is being raised in the same home my Dad and Uncle grew up in and I lived in while I attended UC Berkeley.

I also love that everything is nearby, from the dentist to the grocery store and the park. The neighborhood boasts a wide variety of dining options, ranging from cheap ethnic “student eats” to lovely bistros and coffeehouses, as well as convenient services.

UC Berkeley, Downtown Berkeley and Elmwood shops, restaurants and theaters are all about a mile away.  The bus line is just a block away.

A family history at 2643 Dana Street, Berkeley, CA

Four generations of my family have lived in this home since 1947; my husband and I have lived here since 2002.  My grandparents were the original owners and my Dad and uncle lived here through college at UC Berkeley. My grandmother lived here until her passing in 2000. Her husband was William A.P. White, who worked under the pen name Anthony Boucher, was an accomplished author, book and magazine editor and critic, active from the 1940s to his death in 1968.

A.P., or “Tony” to his friends, was influential as a mystery book editor for the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times.  He was also an author, founder of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and co-writer of hundreds of scripts for radio shows in the 1940s, including Sherlock Holmes with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. He wrote almost everything he ever produced here in this house, using the master bedroom as his “study.” He also hosted regular writers’ workshops in the living room, with notable mystery and science fiction authors.

He was most beloved as an editor because he took the time to mentor writers and was seminal in attempting to make literary quality an important aspect of science fiction and mystery writing.  So much so, in fact, there is an annual convention of creators and devotees of mystery and detective fiction named in his honor.  Called the Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Convention or “Bouchercon”, the event is held annually every fall.

My love for this house stretches back to my childhood; I’ve always loved the look and feel of it. When my grandmother passed away, my husband and I took on the challenge of updating it so we could live here and keep the house in the family.  We have raised our daughter here, hosted numerous family gatherings and celebrated many milestones.  We hate to leave this beautiful house but find it necessary as my husband’s career pulls us to Hawaii.

This is a wonderful neighborhood to raise a family in, with great schools, lovely parks and every possible amenity nearby.  Hopefully, the new family will love how walkable this area is, with great neighborhoods, restaurants and shops in every direction.

Built in 1941, the house itself is well built and has been lovingly updated from top to bottom. Please see list of improvements for a full description of what’s been done to the home and property. This is an ideal place for entertaining with a generous backyard and lots of living space.  We have loved every minute in this house and hope the new owners will too.

The Berkeley Historical Plaque Project will be placing a plaque on the home.



Msmstry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Msmstry said...

How strange that this house is on sale so soon after the conference begun in his honor. Janet, thanks for posting!

Unknown said...

Boucher is one of my heroes, and if I had a spare million-five around the house I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Unknown said...

This notice and article should be sent to the Bouchercon Board to be included in some future historical documentation. It is a wonderful link to Mystery past and present and brings smiles of happy memories.

Janet Rudolph said...

Bouchercon Board already notified and taking action. All we need is a $2,000,000...the house will go over.. great place for the archives. :-)

Ira Serkes said...

Hi … Your blog post was picked up in Berkeleyside!

Charles Siegel wrote:

There is a good novel by Anthony Boucher set in Berkeley, The Case of the Seven of Calvary. It is a good mystery, and it also gives a good picture of life at UC in the 1930s.

There is also a good story about the Boucher house posted on the internet somewhere. In 1950, A prospective science fiction writer sent a story in to Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine, and he wanted to visit them at their Berkeley office. He went to the Berkeley address that was on the masthead of the magazine, and when he knocked on the door, Anthony Boucher answered wearing his bathrobe.
The magazine used his home address as their Bay Area address.

I had no idea that his family still lived in it.

And I responded:

Thanks for the tip of the book, Charles ... I'll check it out.

We'll be open again on Sunday 25 Oct 2015 2:00 to 4:30 pm

Larger photos of Anthony Boucher, links to him, and photo portfolio of the home on our blog.

Ira Serkes

Unknown said...

Boucher remains one of my favorite mystery and scifi authors after decades of being a fan of those genres, in between all the academic reading one must do. A great writer, an even more influential editor. some of his stories created fun trying to recognize Berkeley venues behind his cover for them in his writing. I was most intrigued when I found multiple references to Newman Hall, the campus program for Catholics that's now a full parish. I discovered he was a regular of Newman Hall before the building at College was erected and they met on north side. Older veterans of Newman remembered him well but never knew of his prominence as a writer/editor. I've later read some short biographies of him which indicate he would have been a great dinner guest and friend - for atheists, Buddhists, and non lovers of the genres. A true Berkeleyite - Ok, what I think of as a Berkeleyite.
Fred Collignon

Hayden Farley said...

I can't believe Anthony Boucher's house was on sale. He contributed so much to genre fiction and his house should be a historical literary site. Along that vein, I think it's appropriate that the realtors are marketing the house as Anthony Boucher's. The value of a house increases with the number of famous who have lived in it. The realtors are just taking advantage of that even though Anthony Boucher's fame isn't very large.

Hayden Farley @ Malibu Real Estate Agents

Janet Rudolph said...

Hi, Hayden, thought you might want to know that the Berkeley Historical Society has put up a plaque noting the importance of the house. We had a celebration/Literary Salon on Saturday. It was lovely with the family sharing many memories, plus readings of short stories, both mystery and science fiction, and a play from 1946. Excellent event. Here's a link to the announcement.

Janet White said...

It looks like a very lovely property. If I lived nearby and it was in my budget, I might consider it. It also looks very well looked after. I especially love the arched doorways. I have always found that to be a welcoming look in different houses but it can be tricky to find. Hope they find a great owner.

Jacqueline @ Buyer's Option Realty Services

Margaret said...

For someone who is a collector, buying this house would be like a crown jewel. I am a collector of baseball memorabilia, and with how impactful Anthony Boucher was around the area and even across the country with his stories, this home would be a great collector piece. I wish I could afford to buy it!

Margaret @ Boston North Shore Real Estate

Eddy Clemmons said...

It's a fascinating thought isn't it, all of those houses out there that must have seen the production of so much art, so many books. Right now someone somewhere is writing the next big novel in some obscure backwater house that one day fans will queue up to look at, and plaques will be put on.

Eddy Clemmons @ No Mortgages Ltd