Footsteps of Fitzgerald

From the detailed pages of the literary world to the glamorous bright lights of Hollywood, F. Scott Fitzgerald certainly lived an exciting life, and it all started right here, in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul. While Fitzgerald has been a household name for nearly a century, his life certainly is coming into greater focus as of late with The Great Gatsby hitting theaters this May and This Side of Paradise playing at the History Theatre (through May 19). From his childhood home to spots he refers to in his novels, see where you can visit in St. Paul to walk in the footsteps of Fitzgerald.

Photo by Todd Buchanan

481 Laurel Avenue: On Sept. 24, 1896, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in this Pullman-style apartment building, now a National Literary Landmark.

James J. Hill House (240 Summit Avenue): Fitzgerald referenced the railroad baron in The Great Gatsby when Gatsby’s father said, “If he’d of lived he’d of been a great man. A man like James J. Hill.”

Louis W. Hill House (260 Summit Avenue): The home of James J. Hill’s son, Louis, became the site of the costume ball in The Camel’s Back.

626 Goodrich Avenue: Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived here with their only daughter, Frances Scott, after she was born in 1921.

St. Mary’s Church (261 E. Eighth Street): Fitzgerald’s grandparents worshiped at this church, and his family donated the marble baptismal front and pedestal that are still in use today.

Union Depot (214 E. Fourth Street): In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald described coming back to St. Paul on the train, a ritual he knew well from riding to and from schools out east.

Rice Park (Market and W. Fifth Street): See a life-sized statue of Fitzgerald, created in 1996.

The Saint Paul Hotel (350 Market Street): Scott and Zelda spent time here when between homes in the early ‘20s, and a painting of Fitzgerald still hangs in the bar.

WA Frost (345 Selby Avenue): This restaurant used be a pharmacy, where Fitzgerald sipped soda at the counter.

St. Paul’s Central Library (90 W. Fourth Street): This historic library contains an alcove and reading area featuring displays and information on Fitzgerald, in addition to books by or about him.

For even more spots to visit, check out the St. Paul Public Library’s F. Scott Fitzgerald in St. Paul: Homes and Haunts guide.