Cather Birthplace for Sale

Published:March 24, 2010 by Brendan Wolfe

Willa Cather‘s birthplace, a tw0-story log house on Back Creek near Winchester, is for sale.

In 1950, Charles Brill’s parents bought the house, and he spent most of his life on the property. Now Brill is looking for a buyer who can maintain the house—perhaps even a member of Cather’s family.

Brill is committed to selling the home to “someone who is committed to preservation and not tearing it down,” he says. “The land itself has some value, but I would not want to see the old place torn down,” he says. The property was placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1976 and the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

About three years ago, Linda Cather and several other local descendents approached Brill, he says, “to sell it to them for the purpose of preservation.” Therefore, he hasn’t put the house on the real estate market. “They [Cather’s descendants] are the only ones I’ve spoken to seriously about selling. Nothing definite has been settled. If anyone appeared with a better offer, I would be agreeable,” Brill says.

Cather’s last novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940), was set in Back Creek. More on the house here.