Experience St. Paul Like F. Scott Fitzgerald

Literary legend F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of St. Paul’s most famous native sons. Nearly eight decades after his death, he remains a household name. His most prominent work, The Great Gatsby, was recently made into a Hollywood blockbuster (and yes, the novel is still being assigned to high school kids everywhere).

Whether you’re a history buff, a literary fan, or simply want to view some amazing architecture, it’s easy to create your own F. Scott Fitzgerald tour. Thanks to a whole lot of painstaking historic preservation and restoration, you can literally walk in Fitzgerald’s footsteps at several sites throughout the city. (And you can at least walk by the private spaces. No trespassing allowed!) Fitzgerald moved frequently, so these are just a few of the sites with his stamp on them:

· 294 and 481 Laurel Avenue.

Fitzgerald was born at 481 Laurel Avenue and he lived with his family at his grandparents’ home at 294 Laurel Avenue, both classic rowhouses.

· St. Paul Academy — 25 North Dale Street

Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy as a teenager, and had his first story published in a magazine during his time there.

· W.A. Frost — 372 Selby Avenue

It has been a thriving restaurant for more than 40 years, but this space was “W.A. Frost’s Pharmacy” during Fitzgerald’s era, and the writer and his friends frequently loitered there.

· 599 Summit Avenue.

A stunning brownstone where Fitzgerald lived while working on his first novel.

· The University Club — 420 Summit Avenue

Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda frequented the Club, where they kicked up their heels with other members and made the most of the glamorous jazz age.

· The Commodore — 79 Western Avenue North

Fitzgerald and Zelda actually lived at the Commodore, and they also were fixtures at the bar. The space recently re-opened after undergoing extensive renovations to preserve the art deco style.

If you’re looking for more ideas for interesting historic sites to visit during your stay in St. Paul, check with the staff at Hotel 340. We’re local experts, and it just so happens that the building we’re located it in is itself an interesting historic site!

Edward Rupp