Plan underway to preserve John Steinbeck’s Hamptons house

John Steinbeck’s Hamptons’ home is on the market for a whopping $16.75 million — but preservationists want to transform the author’s East End Eden into a writer’s retreat.

The home, a part-time residence for Steinbeck until his death in 1968, was put up for sale last year by Steinbeck family heirs.

The Sag Harbor Partnership is working on a plan to buy the 1.8-acre waterfront property in the former whaling village and turn it into a retreat run by the University of Texas. The tract comes with a two-bedroom cottage and Steinbeck’s gazebo-like “writing house.”

Doreen Atkins of Sotheby’s International Realty, who has the listing, said the Steinbeck heirs are “open to anyone who comes to the plate and pays their price. They’re very much in favor of anyone who sees the value of this property and moves forward with it.”

“We’re trying to get there first with the best offer,” said Susan Mead, the Sag Harbor Partnership co-president.

Steinbeck lived there with his third wife, Elaine, from 1955 until his death.
Bettmann Archive
John Steinbeck’s longtime home in Sag Harbor, N.Y
The Steinbeck heirs are “open to anyone who comes to the plate and pays their price.”
Doug Kuntz
Sag Harbor John Steinbeck
Steinbeck used it as a part-time residence until his death in 1968.
Gavin Zeigler

The group has a pledge from the town of Southampton, through its Community Preservation Fund, to secure the property, said Mead, who wouldn’t disclose the pledge amount. It has also raised about $1 million for the purchase.

Mead said the University of Texas, which holds some of Steinbeck’s papers, has pledged to create a $10 million endowment to maintain the property and run the center.

April Gornik, a partnership board member, said SUNY Stony Brook would also be involved in the center, as would local schools.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the town was ready to commit “millions of dollars” to the purchase.

Sag Harbor John Steinbeck
The Sag Harbor Partnership is working on a plan to buy the 1.8-acre waterfront property in the former whaling village and turn it into a retreat run by the University of Texas.
Gavin Zeigler
John Steinbeck's former home in Sag Harbor
The house sites on a 1.8-acre waterfront property.

“We’d like to honor that piece of local history by preserving the place where he wrote,” he said.

The Nobel prize-winning author, who wrote “The Winter of Our Discontent” from the house, lived there with his third wife, Elaine, from 1955 until his death. His widow died in 2003.

Sag Harbor John Steinbeck
The home was a part-time residence for Steinbeck.
Popperfoto via Getty Images

Two Upper East Side townhouses that the “Grapes of Wrath” author owned in the 1940s just went on the market for $18 million.