Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

You Can Buy Heinlein’s Address (But It’s Not His House)

Larraine Tutihasi sent me a note that Robert A. Heinlein’s house is for sale in Colorado Springs. Here is the real estate listing. The agent is mistaken; although this is indeed the great man’s address, this is not his house. The Heinleins built a custom home in the Broadmoor area of Colorado Springs in 1950. It was a wonderful design, distinctly Frank Lloyd Wright-ish, with lots of techie grace notes designed by Heinlein himself. The house was supposedly “remodeled” after the Heinleins moved to Santa Cruz, but several people have told me that virtually the whole thing was torn down circa 1995, and the current larger but very ordinary home built on the site. The bomb shelter is apparently still there, as is the very appropriate address of 1776 Mesa Avenue.

I’m floored by the asking price: $650K for a good-sized house on a 1.5 acre lot in the poshissimo Broadmoor is a steal, unless the house has serious problems of some kind. It’s 2.75 miles linear distance from me, but over six miles street distance because of all the damnfool gated communities between here and there.

Oddly, Carol and I lived almost as close to Heinlein’s Santa Cruz home when I worked for Borland, and in fact Carol’s boss’s wife was the listing realtor when Virginia Heinlein sold it in 1988. Alas, I had just been laid off by Borland, and had no clue where I would be working after that, so we didn’t even go see it. I’ve been kicking myself for that idiotic lapse ever since!

11 Comments

  1. David Silver says:

    About three years ago, my sister, who lives in Sprngs, and I, who was visiting, stopped by to see what could be seen from the road. While I was taking a photo of the “spirit of 1776” wrought iron street address sign, a lady near the house called out to us. The house is at least 50 yards from the road, and somewhat lower. She asked what we were doing, and I told her we were fans of Robert. She invited us in, showed us the bomb shelter, allowed photos, etc. She told us the first floor was still the basic house Robert had built. The second story and the decks, she said, had been built over and around it. She graciously identified herself by name, but also as the daughter of the couple who had bought the house from Robert and Virginia. She, in turn, bought the house from her parents. I cannot vouch for either its having been “virtually” (whatever that means) torn down, nor for her version, without examining the foundation and plans, etc., but it should appear that a permit for the “remodel” was issued, and the City of Colorado Springs may even have plans on file for that remodel. That would resolve the question, I’d think.

    1. Cool. And many thanks for taking the time to let us know. Like a lot of things, it’s evidently a more complex situation than conventional wisdom holds. I drove past with Pete Albrecht a couple of years ago, but there was almost nothing to be seen from the road. The photos shown on the real estate listings give no hint of any part of the original structure.

      I’m still extremely puzzled by the price, which is less than smaller homes in my own neighborhood in the Springs, on half-acre lots. I didn’t think that housing prices had fallen so far so fast right here under my nose, but as I have no intention of moving, I just haven’t been paying attention.

      Thanks again.

  2. […] Jeff Duntemann also doubts much of the house remains as Heinlein envisioned. A fan claimed to have heard from a subsequent owner that the first floor was “still the basic house Robert had built. The second story and the decks, she said, had been built over and around it.” And the bomb shelter is still there. […]

  3. Horace Hall says:

    See my floor plan figure at:
    http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/pm652-art-2009.html
    to see what remained of the original outline and what was added on. This does not however show any interior details, but it does look like “built over and around” is an accurate description.

  4. Mem Morman says:

    My husband and I live in the Springs and we looked at the Heinlein house in 2009 with eye to moving there. Here’s my description: http://gilraen2.livejournal.com/34068.html
    Mem Morman

    1. Yes; just went over to your site and left a comment.

  5. Wade says:

    Just found out in a documentary that Mr. Heinlein had lived in my town. So I went to zillow.com to learn more about the house and noticed it’s currently for sale. The listing made no mention of Mr. Heinlein. The sellers purchased it in 2009 for $485,000. Their opening price in 2014 was 1.15 million (wow), currently asking 1 million which only includes half the land (.75 acre). Zillow.com has it valued at $710,000 with 1.5 acres. Great location and an even better conversation started if it met your needs. Might call the realtor and take a peak.

    1. I remember the last time it was for sale. I doubt they’ll get that much for it, granted that it’s in a nice neighborhood. Property values in the Springs have been flat for several years, and while they might possibly get $600K for it, seven figures is fantasy.

      1. Leila Salomon says:

        I remember seeing a picture of the Spirit of 1776 street address sign, but now could not find any picture of it online. My address is also 1776 and I would love to have a picture of Robert Heinlein’s street address sign. Anyone still listening?

        1. I’m still listening, but my wife and I left Colorado Springs last year and moved to Phoenix, so I can’t be of much help. I’ve not seen a photo of the street address sign either, or I would have posted it. Definitely stop by now and then to see if anyone has replied. This is an old post, and I don’t think there’ll be much activity on it going forward.

  6. Gary C says:

    When I was stationed at Ft. Carson in the mid-90’s, I made a pilgrimmage to view the house; found the sign, and I looked down at it from the roadway, but as luck had it, no encounter with the residents.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *