The La Jolla home of Theodor Seuss Geisel, who imagined the whimsical worlds of "The Grinch" and "The Cat in the Hat" as author Dr. Seuss, is up for sale for the first time in more than 70 years.
The four-bedroom, four-bath home atop Mount Soledad doesn't necessarily look like it would belong in the whimsical world Geisel brought to life in stories through the late 1900s, but the beloved children's author was inspired to pen some of his most famous creations from his perch with 270-degree panorama views.
It's now up for sale by its current owners UC San Diego and listed by Jason Barry at Barry Estates for nearly $19 million. Interested buyers should be ready to pay all cash and submit their bids by Aug. 17 at 5 p.m., the University said. If the price tag is a bit steep for you, the 4.03-acre property is being split up into three smaller lots ranging from $3.9 to just under $12 million each.
The property was gifted to the university in 2019 and proceeds from the sale with go into a newly created Geisel Fund in the UC San Diego Foundation to be used for campus projects to be determined by the university chancellor, a spokesperson said.
According to the city of San Diego, Geisel and his first wife, Helen, built the home around an old observation tower on Encelia Drive in 1948, as his career was soaring and after a stint in Hollywood. After Helen's death in 1967, he married Audrey and the two lived together in the home until Geisel's death in 1991.
Audrey Giesel died peacefully in the home in 2018. She was an avid supporter of UC San Diego and donated $20 million to the campus for the school's library, which was subsequently renamed the Geisel Library. The library now houses the also-donated Dr. Seuss Collection of sketches and drawings and other Seuss memorabilia.
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In his career, Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated 47 books -- from his first published in 1937, " ... And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" to his last while he was alive, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" published in 1990 -- and was awarded a 1984 Pulitzer Prize for his contribution to children’s literature. Most seemed fanciful but had meanings beyond their tale. The Lorax, for example, spread a message of environmentalism. It was likely inspired by the Monterey cyprus trees of San Diego and housing expansion at the time.
The La Jolla home's panorama view inspired Geisel in some of his most popular works, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1986. Photos taken in 1957 show the author at an artist's drawing desk in front of a wrap-around window that overlooks the mountainside and the La Jolla shores below. Through the 1950s, he wrote a couple of children’s books a year, capped in 1957 by the publication of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Cat in the Hat."
Photos taken of Geisel as he worked from the hilltop home in the late-50s and mid-80s give a glimpse of the author's life from the La Jolla home. Take a look:
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said Ted Geisel died in 1996. He died in 1991. The error has been corrected.