Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2006

Burroughs’ cabin on eBay

I thought I would never sell it’

April 13, 2006, 12:00 a.m. Updated April 13, 2006, 10:33 a.m.


The 568-square-foot cabin with narrow concrete stairs, outdoor shower and an incinerating toilet in the bedroom may not be the first place a home hunter would want to drop nearly $160,000.

But the Lone Star Lake abode might be a bargain for fans of the famous Beat Generation writer William S. Burroughs, author of "Naked Lunch" and "Junkie."

Burroughs, who died in 1997, mentioned the cabin in his book "My Education."

Carol Dengel, current owner, listed the cabin on eBay March 22. Dengel, known as lakefrontcarol on eBay, put the cabin for sale as a collector's item.

And with more than 1,600 hits on her page, Dengel may be on the right track to finding a buyer.

Robert Atwater, of England, recently contacted Dengel about the cabin, she said. He told Dengel he hoped he would be able to visit the property sometime this month.

"He called and left a message on my answering machine." she said. "My kids were fascinated that somebody from England was calling about that cabin."

Dengel first came into contact with the cabin in 1999 when she and Diane Fry, an old high school friend from Ottawa, decided to buy a cabin near the lake where they could spend weekends with their families.

Carol Dengel, of Overland Park, has something she wants to sell on eBay: a Lone Star Lake cabin once owned by the late author William S. Burroughs. Dengel, who is asking about $160,000 for the abode, is pictured on Wednesday at the lake-front property.

Carol Dengel, of Overland Park, has something she wants to sell on eBay: a Lone Star Lake cabin once owned by the late author William S. Burroughs. Dengel, who is asking about $160,000 for the abode, is pictured on Wednesday at the lake-front property.

She said houses in that area were rarely ever listed for long. Often owners would simply sell to friends or family, or agents would quickly purchase the property and then sell it to someone they knew.

When 638 E 582nd Road became available, Dengel and Fry learned from a friend that it was for sale. When Dengel learned who the previous owner was, she knew she had to have it.

"I used to come here as a kid, so I wanted a place near the lake. When we found out who it belonged to we bought it for the asking price right there," Dengel said.

She declined to say what she paid for the property, but the county appraiser lists the current value as $66,100, far less than the asking price now.

As part of the purchase agreement, Dengel and Fry had to buy the cabin as it was.

"It was in major disrepair," Fry said. "My husband, Kent, spent a lot of time cleaning it up. We redid every inch of that cabin."

Dengel said that she didn't think Burroughs used the cabin much in his later years, but that many of his acquaintances did.

"It was unbelievable. I mean we hauled I don't even know how many truck loads of junk. It was nasty when we bought it," she said.

Among some of the items left were old bathing suits, garbage and dirty dishes. Some of the more valuable items - a desk and Burroughs' boat - were removed by the sellers the day before the friends took ownership.

Over the next few years, the friends with their families and help from others made about $40,000 in repairs, adding new features, including a deck near the house and next to the water, new windows and new appliances.

Three years ago, Dengel bought Fry's half of the house while Fry and her husband bought two bigger cabins up the lane.

Dengel shows the interior of the cabin. She says it was "nasty" when she bought it but that she and her husband "redid every inch."

Dengel shows the interior of the cabin. She says it was "nasty" when she bought it but that she and her husband "redid every inch."

"I thought I would never sell it," Dengel said. "When they wanted to buy the other cabins, I said I would never sell it."

But the cabin had its downside. It was small enough only that she her husband and two children could sleep in it.

Then she met a collectibles salesman on an airplane who told her eBay was where collectibles sold. She decided to sell the cabin and purchase one of the larger cabins the Frys bought.

Dengel said she would keep the cabin up for bid until May 1. If no one has purchased the cabin by then, she said she would sell it to the current renters for an undisclosed sum.

"They get a good-friend discount on the 2nd," she said.

This isn't the first time items once belonging to Burroughs have made their way to eBay. In April 2000, the Journal-World reported stolen items from Burroughs' estate were being sold on the online auction. The items included identification cards, credit cards and prescriptions. After Burroughs' death, his estate went to James Grauerholz, a longtime friend and editor.

Burroughs died of a heart attack at Lawrence Memorial Hospital on Aug. 2, 1997.


Sigmund 12 years, 2 months ago

Does the cabin include the spot where he shot his wife in the forehead on their honeymoon?

Kelly Powell 12 years, 2 months ago

Jesus! People are cashing in on him posthumously left and right....Why doesnt somebody cut the b^!lshi!t and dig up his corpse and sellTHAT on ebay?

weterica 12 years, 2 months ago

I agree with macon, William S. Burroughs was the Pied Piper of the flower power 1960s, yeah! Not because it is true, but because he was a immoral druggy! He is fair game to project all we don't like about the world on him!

I remember him wandering around in the 60s in hippy rags tempting young children with his groovy headband and Microbus, playing crazy licks on a brightly colored guitar, pausing only to give a peace sign.

When ever see homeless people on the streets I always think, "dang, if only William S. Burroughs had not written books then the streets would be as clean as they were in the good ole days."

I bet even the significant population of homeless Vietnam vets wouldn't be walking the streets if Burroughs hadn't written books. I bet the memories of that war, the psychological wounds, the missing limbs, etc. would all be null and void if Burroughs hadn't wandered around with a flower in hair chanting drug-crazed poems about peace, love and cosmic harmony!

Macon knows a lot about Burroughs' work--at least knows a lot about what Macon thinks what Burroughs work is about.

I'm just glad there is someone out there that is as brave as Macon--you know brave enough to come from a position of seemingly complete ignorance of a subject, but still comment like an expert. And then blaming a writer for a societal problem such as homelessness! Wow. That was rad!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 2 months ago

I like you weterica, cause I can tell you're not a Bush-hater.

Sigmund 12 years, 2 months ago

When I think of WSB I think how much he has contributed to our culture. Decades ahead of O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake he shows more than anyone else that if you're a "famous" drug addicted self possessed wife killer, society will excuse your behavior. In fact, one only has to look at the popular gangster rap artists of today who sing about 9mm's and "beach slappin they hoes" to understand that his influence continues to this very day.

Normally this kind of thing would concern me, but not today. It's is just too beautiful outside and I simply can't be bothered.

weterica 12 years, 2 months ago

"In fact, one only has to look at the popular gangster rap artists of today who sing about 9mm's and "beach slappin they hoes" to understand that his influence continues to this very day."

Read four times to induce an effect similar to that of nitrous oxide. Read five times to induce an effect similar to that of heroin. Read six times to fully ascend into the clouds and never come down. That is strong stuff. Thank you.

Too bad things aren't like they used to before Burroughs. Man, those were the days. No homelessness, no guilty people getting away with murder, nothing in our culture degrading to women or anything! Burroughs sure did a number on our once pure and great society.

dbryant2 12 years, 2 months ago

you all sound pretty bitter re: WSB...what's the matter did he snub some of you, maybe you just weren't cool enough to hang...since when did we start holding artists to the same criteria as everyone else (they always get special, preferential treatment)...last question, what's wrong with the peace train, you war-mongering bush-lovers

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

I wouldn't want to own a cabin associated with WSB. Someone will want it. To each his/her own.

blessed3x 12 years, 2 months ago

Shoot, 568 sq ft in Lawrence? $160,000?

Sounds about right with the current housing market no matter who once lived there.

weterica 12 years, 2 months ago

"sure a few survived"

That is what is so surprising--that any Baby Boomers even survived the POT epidemic. It is hard to even find cemetery plot these days.

Meanwhile while they were all POTTED OUT and GETTING GROOVY on the HARD STUFF the society went to heck in secularhomohandbasket.

When I think about all the terrible things that have changed in our society since the 60s I get all weepy eyed. Just think of the terrible, terrible changes that have happened post-Burroughs! Wow, it is really saddening.

And when I think of all the Baby Boomers that are buried in the ground because of a little POT I just want to bury my head in my hands and weep, because the numbers are so mind boggling! I mean really, yeah, "a few survived," but just a few.

It might be helpful to give some hard numbers on the POT casualties from your high school, Macon. That'll fix a lot of wagons around here. Or maybe it would be easier just to count the "few" that survived.

If they would have been smart they would have just enlisted in the military. Then they could have learned about being a real American and how to follow the rules. That might have cured them of their FREE LOVE tendencies, and probably would have saved their lives.

I was trying to figure, and maybe you could help, Macon, by using your high school as a case study. How many died because of POT, and how many died in Vietnam. Was it like a 10-1 ratio or even greater?

Anyway, it makes me happy to know that Burroughs and his trippy tie-dyed wardrobe are out of our hair now. Maybe now we can lead our society back to the Halcyon Days of the pre-1960s--when all was well and good, and orderly, and it all made sense to good ole people like Macon and me.

pelliott 12 years, 2 months ago

Burroughs wasn't famous because he shot his wife, if that was so we would know many names. He wasn't famous because he took drugs, lord knows that is legion. He had remarkable gifts and honesty was one of them. The reason what he wrote was so important was because he wrote of important things in remarkable ways. HE WROTE. Never did he display himself as someone other than he was. A reformed junkie and unreformed intellect, he held himself responsible for what he did, what he said, what he wrote. He rebuilt himself and cared about almost everything, with no varnish. His last words were very indicative of where the strange path he took led him. "Love, that is all there is."

Sarah Mathews 12 years, 2 months ago

No one is in a vegetative state "ala Terri Schiavo" because of pot. No one. I'd bet my weed on it.

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