Historical Figures Homes You Could Actually Live In

Monica Gray - July 21, 2023

There’s an unrivaled feeling that comes with buying a new home. You get to re-do every aspect of your kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms your budget allows for. And you finally own something that’s yours. But as a homeowner, do you look into the history of your house? It turns out there are some homes on the market that historical figures previously owned, that have shaped history as we know it. If you don’t yet own a home, you might want to look into these properties. You might end up living in Dr. Seuss’s childhood home, Ernest Hemmingway’s childhood home, or the famous Kennedy Estate. Who knows what you might find lurking behind those walls and basements! Many of these historical figures flocked to these homes for their inspiration and creativity, and it’s where some of the most influential novels, artwork, and music came from. There’s a reason why these people lived in these homes, and more importantly, a reason why they say home is where the heart is.

USA Today

Al Capone’s Brownstone

The two-flat red brick of Al Capone’s Chicago was on sale for $109,000, though it sold for double its asking price. Before it was purchased, you could have nestled in the home of Chicago’s most notorious gangster, though you’d think he’d live elsewhere. His 1920s residence was a bit more modest than most of us assumed. His mother died in the house. Property Agent Ryan Smith said, “There was a tunnel that went to the house from the garage. It likely led from a door still in the basement,” though it’s since been filled in. He went on to say, “The kitchen on the first floor is probably from the ’50s. That could have still been there when his mother lived there. That doesn’t appear to have been updated at any time.” Newspapers found in the home claimed Capone was a prisoner in his own home, thanks to his mother (USA Today).

The Business Journals

Duke Ellington’s Townhouse

Edward “Duke” Ellington was born and raised in Washington, D.C., where he lived in this home from 1919 to 1922. At the time, he was transitioning from a day job as a sign painter to having a full-time career as a musician. Even though the house needed TLC, it sold for nearly $500,000. It’s a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with shabby carpeting, wires hanging out of the walls, and a narrow kitchen that needs a few technical upgrades (DC Curbed).


Henry David Thoreau

You can live in the home of the well-renowned historical author Henry David Thoreau for $2.6 million. He once occupied the attic of his father’s house, which is located in Concord, MA. He referred to it as the”Yellow House.” It’s still yellow. In his book Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, Thoreau wrote, “I have, as it were, my sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.” That little world was his yellow house. The home has six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and one-half bath. There’s a three-car garage and a heated in-ground pool, for those of you who are looking for a home that provides a quick dip. Agent Amy Barrett said, “The current owners have renovated the house in a manner respectful of its era, yet mindful of today’s lifestyle.” There are now high ceilings in the home, which were not present during the time Thoreau occupied the home. In 1862, Thoreau died in the yellow house of tuberculosis (Boston).


Ernest Hemingway

In 2012, this home sold for $525,000. Someone else was quick to take action on buying this home, where they now live. This is the historical home of one of the greatest authors of literature of all time, Ernest Hemingway. This home is located in Chicago’s Oak Park. He lived here until he was a teenager when he went and joined an ambulance corps in WWI. After his stint there, he came back home to recuperate, which is when he created some of the most impressive literature to date. The exact address is 339 North Oak Park Avenue, and he went to nearby Oak Park High School. And the house isn’t any old house, Ernest’s grandfather built the house. According to the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, “Here Ernest was born in a second-floor bedroom on July 21, 1899. This Queen Anne house, built by his maternal grandparents and recently restored, is as it was when Ernest lived there. Young Ernest spent his first six years in these grand rooms rich with Victorian decor.” The house echoes the way Ernest lived and has an ancestral feel where this novelist wandered, slept, and wrote (Chicago Literary Hof).


The Childhood Home Of Dr. Seuss

In 2015, Springfield Museums purchased the childhood home of Dr. Seuss for $195,000. This is the home of one of the most famous authors in the world. From the age of two, he lived in this house on Fairfield Street in Springfield, Massachusetts. It’s a spacious, five-bedroom, three-story house. Dr. Seuss moved into the house with his family in 1906 until 1943. That’s around the time he made his way to fame and started making propaganda films, during the war-ridden time in America. The home still holds its historical roots and has changed very little since Theodor Seuss Geisel moved out. Only a few technological upgrades began, like a trash compactor. Linda Alston is the current realtor, and said the house is perfect for “a growing family.” There’s even an old desk in the living room, which might be where Theodor began his stories that changed the world (Masslive).


Jim Morrison

Head to the “House on Love Street,” and grab this historical home for a whopping $1.19 million, where The Doors singer lived. Morrison also lived here with his girlfriend Pamela Courson. It’s located in Hollywood Hills, just off of Laurel Canyon Boulevard. This home was the inspiration for the song Love Street. The lyrics go like this, “I see you live on Love Street, There’s this store where the creatures meet, I wonder what they do in there, Summer Sunday, and a year, I guess I like it fine, so far,” and that store is the Laurel Canyon Country Store just minutes down the street from his home. If you lived in this home, perhaps you’d feel inspired to write a song yourself. (Rock and Roll Road Map).

Architectural Digest

Grace Kelly’s Historical Childhood Home

Grace Kelly’s home cost one million dollars, and even if she wasn’t born into royalty, her home certainly makes it look like she was. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this estate went on the market for one million. Her father built the house in the early ’20s and 30’s by her father. It’s currently off the market, because her son, Prince Albert of Monaco, purchased the house for way under the asking price. He began restoring the home and is making it a historical landmark. The home still has the twin bed Grace slept in as a child, with the closet that has the marked heights of her and her siblings as they grew up. All of this dates back to 1931 (Architectural Digest).

Liverpool World

Paul McCartney

The former Beatle grew up on 20 Forthlin Road in Liverpool. This modest home is where the famous singer honed in on his musical skills and sang in the choir at St. Barnabas Church. Realtors put his house up for auction and sold it for $225,000. If you’re someone who’s inspired by their surroundings, you need to head to Paul McCartney’s home. It’s opening up as a place for budding musicians to hone in on their art. His home was dubbed the “birthplace of the Beatles,” where they composed their earliest hits before climbing the ladder to fame. It was since turned into a viewing space, and for a while, one of the rooms was off-limits. Michael, Paul’s brother, said, “The fact that our mother died there is why I said to them, for years, that my mum and dad’s room was sacrosanct. I refused to let anybody in. It was too personal, too terrifying. That’s where she slept.” Since then, they’ve opened the room to acknowledge their mother (Liverpool World).


The Kennedy Estate

The “Winter White House,” owned by The Kennedys, was sold in 1995 for $4.9 million. The house dates back to the 1920s and is a dream property. It has oceanfront views, 11 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, and three and a half baths. That sounds like an estate made for royalty. Eventually, the estate was resold in 2020 for $70 million. It was the main vacation home for the Kennedys, who spent their holidays relishing in its beauty. Many important political figures visited the home throughout Kennedy’s time there, including VP Lyndon, Mike Mansfield, and Sam Rayburn. The house comes with the original walnut beds where the president slept next to his brother, as well as the original walnut framed massage table where JFK had his therapeutic back massages. Maybe you’ll feel inspired in this home and become the next president of the USA (Hindman Auctions).


Frederick Douglass’s House

No one truly knows how much agents sold Frederick Douglass’s house for, but we do know it was in the millions. Between 1871 and 1878, Frederick Douglass lived at his townhouse, located in Washington D.C. The home is two stories, with a wood-framed addition at the rear of the house. It has three bedrooms on the second floor and five bedrooms in the attic space. This historical figure spent his entire life fighting for equality and justice. His legacy to fight for freedom lives on in his childhood home. We know Brush Arbor Home Construction purchased his home in 2018 (NPS).

Country Living

Charles Dickens

This famous author created some of the most outlandish, quirky characters in the history of writing. The holiday home of this famous historical author was purchased for $3 million by the Dickens Fellowship and is now a museum. The author once spent his holidays sitting and writing at this coastal manor in England. It was nicknamed the “Bleak House,” after his 1853 novel. With seven bedrooms and ocean views, you’ll have your pick of beauty and charm. Nowadays, this home has original oak herringbone flooring, five bathrooms, ornate coved ceilings, and light windows. The best feature of the home has to be the original Georgian staircase, original fireplaces, and the light-filled drawing room (Country Living).


John Lennon And Yoko Ono

The Dakota, a historical apartment complex John Lennon and Yoko Ono once occupied, is located in New York City. It’s referred to as New York’s most exclusive apartment building. It was occupied by them from 1972 to 1980 and was the final site of Lennon’s murder. Even though the exterior of the apartment looks tame, it doesn’t mean it is. No two apartments are alike, and they’re decorated and styled as those who first occupied them. Inside, you’ll find ceilings of hand-carved oak and marble floors and even floors with sterling silver. And even if you’re a celebrity, it doesn’t mean you’ll grab one of these apartments, it’s almost impossible to live here (CNBC).


Robert E. Lee

Confederate General Robert E. Lee lived a life of luxury. He occupied this six-bedroom, 8,000-square-foot manor from 1812 to 1825 when Lee was aged 5 to 18. George Washington even stepped foot in the house and stayed for a short time. In April 2015, the house went on the market for $8.5 million. Thanks to some serious renovations and reconstruction, the house is stunning. When it went up for sale, it failed to mention the fact that it was originally inhabited by Robert E. Lee (Washingtonian).

Medellin Guru

Pablo Escobar

If you’re looking to explore historical property abroad, look no further than Pablo Escobar’s former estate in Colombia. The infamous drug lord lived in a sprawling estate in Puerto Triunfo, about four hours from Medellin. However, it’s recently turned into a family theme park, so there’s no chance of you living inside his estate. At the very least, you can take a ride on the estate. After he died in 1993, some of the buildings on his estate were demolished and eventually rebuilt into this theme park (Medellin Guru).

Classic FM


Imagine walking the halls of one of the greatest historical composers of all time. That’s The London House, where Mozart composed his very first symphony. For a whopping $9.63 million, the Mozart Foundation owns this home. When Mozart was young, he traveled to Europe with his father and older sister. Only royal audiences heard his musical talent. When they were in London, they paused for a time at a brick townhouse, where Mozart composed his very first symphony, No. 1 in E flat major, that would change the lives of millions of people, and the music world as we know it. There’s even a 33-meter-long garden, perfect for kids to kick a ball around and play, when they’re needing a break from creating music, that is. Tom Lamb, from Mansion Global, said, “The previous owner, who lived in the house for 50 years, did all the renovations and added the two buildings. While the original building had a charm of its own, the renovations transformed the old-fashioned residence, adapting it for modern living by creating open-living spaces and adding a generous kitchen.” The renovations, though modern, made the space look more inviting (Classic FM).

SF Gate

Jimi Hendrix

We heard about Thoreau’s yellow house, and now we’re hearing about Jimi Hendrix’s historical red house. For nearly $4 million, you could live in this home in San Francisco. This guitar genius lived here during the late 1960s, during the notorious hippie culture that inspired his music. After Hendrix’s song, realtors painted the house red and put the three-flat building on the market. And 1524 Haight attracts tons of tourists who stand in front and snap photos of the notorious home. You can admire the murals on the walls, but if you do visit, be mindful of the people that still live there (SF Travel).


Virginia Woolf

You’ve likely read some of Virginia Woolf’s books, like Mrs. Dalloway and To The Lighthouse. In 1915, Virginia and her husband moved into this London home and stayed for nine years. This is where they set up their very own printing company, called the Hogarth Press. In 2018, realtors put the house on the market for $4.55 million. Woolf found London inspiring for her writing, which is why she lived in various flats around the city for years. Frances Spalding exhibited Woolf. When asked what Woolf would think about modern-day London, he said, “I think she would be fascinated by two things. The way the old and new often jam together, as a result of new developments; and secondly the way modern consciousness is divided, attention to the mobile phone often makes us oblivious of our surroundings. I think that displacement would have intrigued her and might have stimulated ideas for fiction.” This home is where she completed The Voyage Out, though it left her with severe mental and emotional stress (Londonist).


George Eliot

For $3.44 million, you can live in historical figure George Eliot’s South London home. In 1859, he moved into this house on London’s Wimbledon Park Road. She’s formerly known as Mary Ann Evans, and this home is where she wrote her classic novel The Mill on the Floss. She eventually set up a home with a married man that went by the name of George Henry Lewes. Property agent Alex Howard Baker said,”This gorgeous period house has it all: period charm and features in abundance, light contemporary living space throughout, ample off-street parking and a wonderful garden and terrace.” (BBC).

Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton

The historical “Mount” mansion is located in Lenox, Massachusetts. This is where author Edith Wharton found her inspiration and eventually wrote books earning her a Pulitzer Prize. Since then, realtors restored the property and turned it into a museum and cultural center. Her property encapsulates the artistic, intellectual human that Edith once was, and still lives by through her writing (Edith Wharton).


Shel Silverstein

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like living in a houseboat, then head to Shel Silverstein’s boat for a whopping $783,000. The historical author of The Giving Tree, and Where the Sidewalk Ends found his inspiration between these California walls. It was previously a balloon barge used to scout enemy aircraft. Talk about a change! In a 2007 biography A Boy Named Shel, he said, “In the beginning the houseboat community was essentially a community of squatters who had only salvage rights. […] The whole place was a bit like living in Never Never Land. Since Shel was a modern-day Peter Pan, the two fit together perfectly.” The home was christened Evil Eye, thanks to the stained-glass window you can see on the boat (Curbed).


Lizzie Borden

For two million dollars, you could live in a home with a tumultuous history. It’s the home where Lizzie murdered her father and stepmother. This house is in Fall River, MA. Lizzie’s parents were murdered in 1892, and in January 2021, the house went up for sale for $2 million. The home was a bed and breakfast for 15 years, and the owners selling the property hope the new owners will keep it that way. The furnishings are in the same place, the decor is a replica, and the original doors and hardware are still intact. The property even offers its guest ghost hunts (Lizzie Borden).


Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley, the iconic music star, had a love for his blue suede shoes, but there’s much more to his fascinating life. Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, he later settled in Beverly Hills, California. The splendid three-bedroom French residency boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, offering breathtaking ocean views. The estate is complemented by a pool, spa, and a tennis court, along with a guesthouse that features seven bedrooms. Notably, Elvis cherished a serene Japanese teahouse, surrounded by a picturesque koi fish pond. It was within these walls that he once shared his life with his ex-wife Priscilla before their divorce in 1973. (Realtor).

Mark Twain House

Mark Twain

The American writer, comedian, publisher, and lecturer lived in a Victorian Gothic-style home, where he lived from 1874 to 1891. And if you have $4.2 million lying around, you can buy his bright yellow Redding House, where he lived until he died in 1910. His Stormfield Mansion was named after his short story, Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven. The mansion itself sits on 28 acres and has a carriage house and a guest cottage. In a letter to Dorothy Quick, Twain revealed his thoughts about the house, and said, “It is charmingly quiet here. The house stands alone, with nothing in sight but woodsy hills and rolling country.” That sounds like an ideal place to write books, Twain (Lithub).

Andrew Jacksons Hermitage

Andrew Jackson

If you want to live in Nashville, Tennessee, head to The Hermitage Plantation, and former home of President Andrew Jackson. Land associated with the state has gone up for sale in the past. This is not only an important piece of Andrew Jackson’s life, but also an important piece of history for Nashville. You’ll get to wander the property, room by room, which tells stories of their own accord (The Hermitage).

Anne Frank

Anne Frank House

Refuge writers can live in the Anne Frank House for one year. The Dutch Foundation for Literature invites them. These writers are those who cannot work freely in their own countries and are thus invited to live in this historical house that holds a tumultuous history. Previously occupied by Anne Frank, this is the home she hid in during the Nazi persecution. It’s located in Amsterdam, and her entire experience living in the attic is documented in her diary. Ronald Leopold, the director of the Anne Frank House said, “We feel that this is an appropriate destination for Anne Frank’s former home. It is a place where freedom, tolerance, and free speech are given free rein. The 360-degree images allow us to share this special place with the public.” It is not open to the public (Anne Frank).

National Trust

Winston Churchill

Head to the country home of Winston Churchill in Kent, England. Even though the actual house is now a museum, there are nearby residential properties you can live in that’ll get you as close as possible to this historical figure’s home. He was formerly the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. At Chartwell, you can take a look at the memorabilia on display, and relics associated with Churchill during his time occupying the home. This is also where you’ll find the largest collection of Churchill’s paintings. Who knows, maybe the work hanging in his home will inspire your creativity (House and Garden).