February 5, 2013

Buy F. Scott Fitzgerald’s house

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As the Los Angeles Times reports, one of the houses F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in during his time in Baltimore is up for sale. The town house at 1307 Park Ave. is going for just $450,000.

As the report notes,

From the photographs, it looks as if the town house has retained many of its early 20th century appointments. It’s easy to imagine that it looks much as it did in the 1930s when Fitzgerald lived there; it was his home from 1933-35.

Zelda was with him only part of the time. It was their second home in Baltimore, where they had moved so she could receive psychiatric treatment — the first was damaged in a fire Zelda set when burning papers in a fireplace. [...]

Built in 1900, the town house has four bedrooms over four levels, including a basement. It has porches in the front and back, two full bathrooms, two half baths, at least three decorative fireplaces, a carriage house/garage, built-in bookshelves and a decorative plaque that notes F. Scott Fitzgerald lived there.

The Baltimore Sun explains Fitzgerald’s connections to Baltimore, by quoting from the University of Baltimore’s Literary Heritage site.

In 1932, Fitzgerald brought [Zelda] and their daughter, Frances Scott “Scottie” Fitzgerald, to Baltimore. They rented a house just north of Rodgers Forge on the grounds of La Paix, the estate of architect Bayard Turnbull, while Zelda received treatment at the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital and later at Sheppard Pratt Hospital. After a fire at La Paix … Fitzgerald moved to 1307 Park Avenue in Bolton Hill, not far from the monument to his famous ancestor, Francis Scott Key. …

While in Baltimore, Fitzgerald finished Tender Is the Night, a book he’d been working on for years. The autobiographical novel about a psychiatrist who is nearly ruined by his marriage to a mental patient represented for Fitzgerald another chance at literary acclaim. Published in 1934, Tender Is the Night did not receive the reviews he’d hoped for, and he was gravely disappointed …

Fitzgerald left Baltimore for good in 1937. He did like the city, though …. It afforded him time to write, as well as the company of people he admired, including H. L. Mencken and Gertrude Stein. He set a few of his short stories in Baltimore, among them “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Benediction.”

Update: the house seems to have been taken off the market. You might have missed your chance!

 

 

Kelly Burdick is the executive editor of Melville House.

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