A sprawling estate in La Jolla, long owned by the late Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, has finally hit the market — a little over 30 years after the beloved children’s author and illustrator’s death. Current owner University of California San Diego is asking a substantial $19 million for the entire spread, though the property’s four contiguous parcels are also for sale in smaller increments ranging from $3.9 million to just under $12 million.
The author — fondly remembered simply as “Ted” by neighbors — and his first wife Helen reportedly enlisted local architect Thomas Shepard to build the stucco and terracotta-roof structure around an old observation tower on Encelia Drive in 1948. Upon Helen’s death in 1967, Geisel married Audrey; and the couple lived together there until Geisel’s death in September 1991. Audrey passed away in 2018 at age 97, and the Geisel Trust subsequently gifted the property to UC San Diego; proceeds from the sale are set to go toward a new Geisel Fund supporting future campus projects.
Sited on a hilltop knoll spanning over four acres, just north of San Diego’s Mount Soledad, much of the Mediterranean-style compound has been renovated through the years, and includes a nearly 5,000-square-foot main house with four bedrooms and five baths, plus a pool and spa flanked by a poolhouse — all offering sweeping ocean, coastline and mountain views.
Photos and listing information are scarce, but online articles and videos show that the office resting below the upper floor of the house’s original “tower” — where Geisel wrote and illustrated numerous books including whimsical characters from the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch to Horton the Elephant, just to name a few — remains unaltered, complete with the original cork board walls.
For added measure, there’s also a double front door displaying the tip of a top hat from that rascally Cat in the Hat etched into the glass, and the famed feline’s signature bowtie can also be spotted at the bottom of the renovated pool.
The longtime overseer of the estate and guardian of his legacy, Geisel’s widow Audrey founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises in 1993 to manage everything from film adaptations of Geisel’s work to the 2000 Broadway show “Seussical.” She also was a staunch philanthropist, donating $20 million and thousands of her husband’s drawings and manuscripts to UC San Diego, where the Geisel Library is named for both of them.
The listing is held by Jason Barry and Ryan Mcgovern of Barry Estates.