Retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter has paid $510,000 to buy a 3,448-square-foot house in Hopkinton, N.H.


First off, we have to apologize to our readers for taking another extended break from this blog. Some of it involved us being on vacation, and some of it has involved lots of other writing projects that have been taking up our time.

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Anyhow, we thought we'd re-enter the celebrity real-estate scene with an unlikely subject: recently retired, 69-year-old Supreme Court Associate Justice David H. Souter. The magna cum laude alumnus of Harvard University has spent his entire life in his family homestead in Weare, N.H., which has peeling paint and frankly looks like little more than an abandoned house. Souter's aging mother had lived with him in the modest, colonial-era farmhouse on Cilley Hill Road in Weare -- which has been in his family for generations -- until she died in 1995 at the age of 87.

Despite his modest digs, Souter (pictured here outside his Weare farmhouse) actually has plenty of money. Beginning in 1988, he invested on the ground floor in a community bank that was bought out by a larger bank, with the cycle repeating several more times. Along the way, Souter retained his investment even as it appreciated substantially because of merger premiums. Eventually, his investment came to be worth several million dollars (some have estimated $6 million, $7 million or $8 million), and he eventually liquidated his holdings in the bank company that by that point was known as Chittenden Corporation after Chittenden was sold at the start of 2008 to a larger bank, People's United Bank. Souter's investment made him one of the Supreme Court's wealthiest justices during his time on the court.

Now, as Souter has returned to his beloved New Hampshire, he's moving to a shockingly modern-looking house about eight miles away in a neighboring town, apparently because he realized his existing homestead couldn't support his extensive book collection. Lots of papers are reporting that Souter purchased the four-bedroom house the week before last (on July 30, to be precise) from Michele Perkins, who is the president of New England College. Perkins told the New York Times in an article that was published today that "My husband, James, and I have always admired and respected Justice Souter and are delighted that he has returned to New Hampshire. We wish Justice Souter every happiness in his new home." Also, a neighbor told the Times that Souter said he wanted to live on one level -- and, that his farmhouse was not structurally sound enough to support his entire book collection.

Features in the 13-room house, which was built in 1987, include two and a half baths, oak floors, wainscoted living and dining rooms, a first-floor master suite with a spa bath, an updated kitchen with Corian counters, custom cabinetry in the family room, a screened-in porch, and a finished lower level with a wood stove, a large playroom, a den, a craft room/gym (somehow, we don't picture Justice Souter doing a lot of arts and crafts -- can you really envision the man scrapbooking or using a stamp set?), and a home gym (Souter *is* a fitness fanatic), according to listing information. Outdoor features on the 2.36-acre property, which is in a neighborhood called Hopkins Green, include an exterior cedar deck and an attached garage with storage, according to listing information.

The house had been listed for $549,000.

There's no word yet on what Souter will do with his family homestead in Weare. Stay tuned.