Owner Selling Burroughs’ Former Cabin
“Lakefront Carol” is the current owner of a lakefront bungalow formerly belonging to William S. Burroughs. She and her husband are selling the cabin on ebay (PDF) and are planning on passing it along to a friend if the cabin doesn’t sell by May, 2006. Jed Birmingham had some thoughts about the collectibility of the cabin, and RealityStudio emailed Lakefront Carol to ask her a few questions. Here’s what she had to say.
My husband and I had never met William Burroughs. We found out through a friend in real estate that a cabin on the lake was going to come on the market. It is really hard to get a cabin on this lake because most of them are sold to family members or friends. There are only around 35 cabins and they just don’t come on the market very often. When they do get listed with a real estate agent, it is usually the agent or someone they know who buy the property before it even is made available to the public.
So, we didn’t even know the property was owned by Mr. Burroughs when we found out a cabin was going to be sold. As soon as we found out the cabin belonged to him, I got SO EXCITED! We immediately paid full purchase price and were told we were going to get the cabin as is, which was fine with us. Even though it had lots of stuff left my many visitors over the last few years when, I assume, he wasn’t going out there anymore, we were so excited because there was also furniture, including a desk that was there, that we thought we would get.
After we closed on the sale, we immediately went out to the cabin to see all the stuff we were going to get that belonged to him only to find it had been removed, probably the day before. Even with that, I was unbelievably happy to have his cabin and spent a bunch of time that summer finding out everything I could about him. It was like a treasure hunt and I have a few funny stories about looking for anything Burroughs.
A year later I had the privilege of meeting Mr. James Guauerholz who was executor of his estate and who sold the cabin. We met James at a book signing in Lawrence, where I believe he still lives. He edited Word Virus and he seemed to be interested to meet us as well because of our excitement about Burroughs.
Our neighbors at the lake on both sides have both owned their cabins from before Burroughs owned his. They have told us stories about how he would paddle his little flat-bottom fishing boat out to the middle of the cove and just sit there for hours. Burroughs talks about this a little in one of his books. From reading Burroughs’ writings, I imagine him feeding a stray cat or two out at the lake and shooting target practice out there on occasion as well. We spent a little time looking for bullet holes in trees with no luck.
One time our neighbors at the lake said that a group of rowdy people came down to the deck and started making themselves comfortable. He asked if they are friends of ours and they said they knew Burroughs and didn’t know the cabin had sold. I imagine lots of his friends and acquaintances were welcome to use the place whenever they wanted. I’m sure they had lots of fun there as it is a great place to just hang out and visit.
And in a followup email, Lakefront Carol added:
I became a fan [of Burroughs] after learning the cabin belonged to him. There was a simple wooden desk in the cabin when we originally viewed the cabin, along with miscellaneous other furniture such as a twin bed and some chairs and a coat tree. To me, the cabin looked like Mr. Burroughs had not been there for some time, but that he generously allowed his friends and acquaintances to use it. Swimsuits and odds and ends were strewn about. Dishes were still in the sink and were probably there for months or longer. It was unkept, probably from lots of visitors. I looked at the trees to see if there was target practice taken at the lake, but no luck. His boat was there before we bought the cabin, but gone after we closed on it. Mr. Burroughs did a lot of thinking about UFOs while on that boat in the middle of the lake. I hear he spent hours just sitting out there by himself. The only interesting thing we found when a water line was installed was a horse shoe, obviously used on a horse.