Hornberger Home Up for Auction

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I don’t typically write about anything not directly related to M*A*S*H the television series but this was interesting enough that I thought I’d mention it. The house built in Bremen, Maine by the late Dr. H. Richard Hornberger — who wrote MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors under the pen name Richard Hooker — will be offered at public auction on August 28th, 2010 by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries. I doubt very much there are any hidden manuscripts in the walls or anything like that but the view from the house looks beautiful.

Here’s a press release about the auction:


M*A*S*H Fans Take Notice

Date: 28 August 2010
Time: 1400 Hours
Place: 76 Heath Road, Bremen, Maine U.S.A.

The home of Dr. H. Richard Hornberger, author of the hit book which inspired the movie and TV series M*A*S*H, will be offered at public auction. Writing under the pen name ‘Richard Hooker’, Hornberger developed his main character, Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, with many influences from his beloved Bremen home. The legendary Medomak estuary of Broad Cove where the home is located is known to the rest of the world through Hornberger’s writings as “Crabapple Cove.”

After his tour in the Korean War as a U.S. Army surgeon in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H), Hornberger settled on Heath Road in Bremen. His writings are riddled with direct and indirect references to the places and people of mid coast Maine. Hawkeye Pierce’s home town of Port Waldo is the town of Waldoboro, as well as Wreck Island and Thief Island which are other Muscongus Bay landmarks. The name of Margaret ‘Hot Lips’ Houlihan’s fiancé, Donald Penobscot, was inspired by the Maine town and county of the same name. The fictitious Androscoggin College, named after another Maine County, where Hawkeye Pierce played football, most agree is Hornberger’s alma mater Bowdoin College. Even the Pierce family is said to be modeled after the real life Spear family who have had deep roots in the mid coast Maine area for generations.

The auction will take place on location and is being conducted as a joint venture of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries and Coldwell Banker SoundVest Properties. According to Thomaston Place Vice President John D. Bottero, “We view this as an opportunity to own a Maine landmark, and this will be offered with the same importance as a rare work of art of an important historical item.” Imagine the ability to be inspired the way that Dr. Hornberger was as he looked out of his living room window across “Crabapple Cove” and penned one of the 20th Century’s best known novels.

All of the connections mentioned in the press release have to do with the character of Hawkeye Pierce in the original MASH novel and its sequels and, to a lesser extent the 1969 film. The television version of the character has little in common with the novel version. I’ve left out the contact information but for anyone interested in learning more about the auction or a prospectus of the house see this page at the Thomaston Auction website. Photographs of the house can be found here.

(For the record, I received the above press release via e-mail from Thomaston Place Auction Galleries but have no connection to the auction house, the Hornberger family or the house itself.)

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