The Maine property once home to E.B. White—essayist, New Yorker writer, co-author of The Elements of Style, but best known as the author of beloved children’s books Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan—is currently up for sale. You might recognize the barn!
“They might be very interested in the fact that it was E.B. White’s residence for many years, and that’s where Charlotte lived, and Templeton, and all the history of all of his books,” real estate broker Martha Dischinger told the Bangor Daily News. “This house is in magnificent condition. It’s been lovingly taken care of over the years, since the late 1700s.”
White and his wife Katherine (who was the fiction editor at the New Yorker and very influential in her own right) lived at the seaside farm in North Brooklin, Maine, from the late 1930s until their deaths. Yankee magazine editor Mel Allen visited the current owners, Robert and Mary Gallant, who bought the 44-acre saltwater farm when White died in 1985. The barn in particular would likely still be familiar to anybody who read Charlotte’s Web growing up:
We walk from room to room in what is possibly the most impressive and well-kept barn I have ever seen. There is that rope swing, immortalized in Charlotte’s Web as the one from which Fern and her brother launched themselves from the loft. Here’s where Wilbur’s trough would have been, Mary says, and “right here”—she points—“is the hole where I tell children Templeton the rat would scurry back and forth.” Light pours into the barn from massive windows the Gallants found in a salvage yard. “We think we have changed the barn for the best,” she says. Many of the improvements, she notes, had to do with “opening rooms up to more light.”
Beyond the nostalgia for a childhood classic, however, the rest of the farm sounds incredible. The main building is a farmhouse from the 1790s:
There is much to take in: 12 rooms, six working fireplaces, three and a half bathrooms, 19th-century stenciling on the stairway walls, a wood cookstove in the kitchen. Here is the sunny study used by Katharine White, a revered New Yorker editor and avid gardener, now an office for Mary. Next we look in on the darker, north-facing office that belonged to E.B. White, now Robert’s. Upstairs, Mary opens the door to a bedroom that was once heated in winter by a small woodstove set into a fireplace. “This was Mr. White’s room,” she says. “He was afraid of fire,” and she points to the rope ladder squeezed into a corner of the closet.
White wrote frequently about Maine and not just in Charlotte’s Web. According to New England Living, White “did not want his home to become a shrine, a museum, a writers’ retreat; he wanted it to stay just a family home.” It’s currently for sale at $3.7 million and the New England Living article notes, “Serious inquiries only, please.”
Correction: This post originally identified Mel Allen as the editor of New England Living; he is the editor of Yankee magazine. The story first appeared on NewEnglandToday.com, the magazine’s website. We regret the error.