This Stately Saint Paul Home Tells a Great Story
Minnesota’s most notable former residents span from Bob Dylan to Prince, but did you know that the North Star State also housed a particularly illustrious literary icon? As it turns out, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his first published novel, This Side of Paradise, from a stunning and historic home right here in Saint Paul. Let’s dive into a little slice of the home’s history as well as its story today.
Minnesota’s F. Scott Fitzgerald House
The story began in 1918. Fitzgerald, then an army lieutenant stationed in Alabama, quickly became enamored with Zelda Sayre, the poster child of future flappers everywhere. “I’ve fallen in love with a whirlwind,” Fitzgerald gushed. At the time, Fitzgerald was essentially penniless and unknown, and Sayre was popular and desirable. Despite their different social stations, the two began a courtship, which led to Fitzgerald eventually moving to New York and pioneering his writing career. He soon proposed, which Sayre accepted before breaking off the engagement, citing concerns that he couldn’t financially support her.
A heartbroken Fitzgerald made the move back to his parents’ home in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Here, in the street-side bedroom of 599 Summit Ave., This Side of Paradise was born, with plenty of intermittent smoking breaks out the third-floor window. Fitzgerald’s debut novel was published in 1920 to critical success. With newfound wealth and glamour, he could finally prove himself an acceptable partner for Sayre. The pair married one short week after the book was published.
The F. Scott Fitzgerald House Today
Today, the home is designated as a National Historic Landmark, representing this Minnesotan’s many contributions to literature. Unfortunately, it is also a private residence, so tours are not possible.
The author’s prized property is no less valuable in modern days, though. It was last listed in 2016 for the lofty price of $625,000, fitting for an author best-known for his opulent characterization of Jay Gatsby. The current owners enjoy intricate woodwork, a grand three-story staircase, and even a whirlpool tub. Less-desirable features might include hordes of Fitzgerald fans stopping by every day or, who knows, maybe even the literary icon’s brooding ghost haunting the halls.
While you can’t have a smoke from the third-floor window in the spirit of Fitzgerald, you can get your fill of similar houses along the block. The collection of New York-style brownstones all along Summit Avenue are a sight to see in and of themselves.
Architecture and Real Estate
So, how exactly does this historic home apply to your real estate practice? We promise we’re building up to something! Understanding and appreciating local architecture can help you become a more informed and helpful agent, even if your client isn’t shopping around for a piece of literary history. Taking some time to learn about and reflect on different architectural styles can help you steer clients to the right home, whether they want a Craftsman or a Colonial.
Plus, in-depth knowledge of your market is critical as an agent. Minnesota’s real estate market is quickly heating up, so there’s no better time to grow your knowledge, build on your career, and differentiate yourself from the competition.