May 15, 2012
John Updike’s home will become a museum
by Nick Davies
The Reading Eagle have announced that the John Updike Society has finalized plans to buy the author’s childhood home in Shillington, Pennsylvania, for $200,000. Updike, who died in 2009, lived in the Philadelphia Ave. home for the first thirteen years of his life. Renowned for his craftsmanship, prolificness, and depiction of the American small town, he evoked places like his hometown of Shillington in his work, including the four “Rabbit” novels. The John Updike Society president James Plath said of the deal:
I don’t anticipate any problems, but we will be working with an attorney and realtor through the zoning and variance permit process…. Assuming there are no problems or objections, we hope to have everything finalized in 75 days.
He added that they would have to do some renovations to the home in order to get it ready for the public, and that the museum will likely only be open by appointment and not post regular hours, so as not to disturb the residential community. He expects the site to operate similarly to the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald home in Montgomery, Alabama, or the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians in Columbus, Georgia–both places that are close to universities and colleges and attract scholars and writers rather than busloads of tourists.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.