Earlier this year, the one-bed, one-bath Sausalito houseboat at 8 Liberty Dock, once home to poet and The Giving Tree author Shel Silverstein, went up for sale asking $390,000, firing the imaginations of would-be owners across the Bay Area.
But only one lucky shopper who came to see Shel’s boat ended up with the deed, closing a deal a few weeks ago for $375,000.
The remarkable old tub began its life as a defense barge in World War II before transforming into the opulent oddball we see today.
Silverstein conferred the piratical nickname the Evil Eye on his abode after moving to Sausalito in the wake of San Francisco’s Summer of Love. (The Haight just wasn’t his scene, according the biography A Boy Named Shel.)
Other Sausalito artists and bohemians owned the boat before and after Silverstein, including the most recent owner, photographer and Sausalito shoreline community pillar Larry Moyer.
But the listing for 8 Liberty Dock didn’t mention this history. Realtor Paul Bergeron tells Curbed SF he was simply never confident enough in the veracity of the Silverstein association.
“I’m just not allowed to provide any information [about that] one way or the other,” says Bergeron. “I have a responsibility that goes above any responsibility I have talking with you or the company you work for. I said the same thing to everyone who called trying to inject as much color and flair as they could.”
In April, Curbed SF conferred with longtime neighbor Elaine West, whose own houseboat, Stone Soup, berths nearby, and with photographer Richard Olsen, who photographed Larry Moyer aboard the Evil Eye just before his death in March 2016. Both were confident that 8 Liberty Dock is the same home.
Wanting some ocular proof of our own, we also compared its present photographs to those in the 2016 book Floating in Sausalito. The home’s distinctive stained glass windows left little doubt as to its identity.
But 8 Liberty Dock’s bohemian rap sheet was never part of the sales pitch, despite reader interest. Still, it ended up with a new skipper when all was said and done, and perhaps has exciting things on its horizon.
- Shel Silverstein’s Houseboat [Curbed SF]