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F. Scott Fitzgerald Walking Tour - St. Paul, MN

Dear Diary,
Only recently have I become aware of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Minnesota connection.

Before the romance of the Jazz Age, the lavishness of "The Great Gatsby", and his time in Paris and Manhattan that preceded his untimely death at age 44, Fitzgerald was just a kid from the Midwest.

He was born and grew up in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood in St. Paul.

The unassuming townhouse at 481 Laurel, though now a private residence, holds the distinction as the birthplace of one of America's literary geniuses.

I had to settle for a walking tour of the sites since the interiors are not open for public tours. And since I alone carry an interest in this sort of history, I decided to see them for myself while Landen practiced with the Minnesota Chill.

Street and pedestrian traffic was at a minimum that Saturday morning, so thankfully I didn't have too many passer-by to question why I was photographing these town homes.

Just a few blocks from Fitzgerald's birthplace is 599 Summit, and probably one of the better known addresses in the author's story. He himself proclaimed the building to be "ugly", but it didn't prevent him from penning a few of his works from within its walls.

Personally, I was mesmerized by the charm of this "New York" style brownstone.

Summit Avenue holds the distinction of being one of the longest rows of historic Victorian-era homes in the country.

What struck me most, was the juxtaposition between the images conjured in my mind when Fitzgerald's name is spoken and the modesty of the neighborhood that formed and informed him.

At the time of his upbringing, this neighborhood was considered "working class." The homes were quaint, and he was exposed to class differences. Later in life, his works brought him the celebrity and extravagance of cocktails with Ernest Hemingway, but he never seemed to forget his roots.

Fitzgerald may have left St. Paul, but the city never left him. He references it time and time again in his novels.

It drove the point home for me - we're all just a kid from somewhere.

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