It was 1918, and F. Scott Fitzgerald was a second lieutenant in the Army, stationed at a base outside Montgomery, Alabama. While at a country club one night, he laid eyes on Zelda Sayre, Montgomery’s resident manic pixie dream girl and prototype for future flappers everywhere. “I’ve fallen in love with a whirlwind,” Fitzgerald famously declared shortly thereafter.
Sayre proved tough to woo. She was popular, headstrong, and had no shortage of suitors. But nonetheless, a correspondence began between the two lovers. Fitzgerald, who had narrowly escaped being deployed to Europe at the end of World War I, soon proposed marriage. Sayre initially accepted but then later broke it off, stating that Fitzgerald, by then a struggling writer living in New York and doing advertising work, would be unable to financially support her.
Fitzgerald moved back in with his parents in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the city where he had been born. It was there, on the third floor of 599 Summit Ave in a room overlooking the street, that he knuckled down and wrote the novel This Side of Paradise.
During writing breaks, Fitzgerald would crawl out the third-floor window and onto the balcony to smoke cigarettes. Within a year, he finished the manuscript and submitted it to Scribner’s, who accepted it in the fall of 1919. The novel was published in March 1920 to critical and popular acclaim.
Having now achieved enough wealth to prove to Sayre that he could support her, she consented to marriage. The two wed a week after This Side of Paradise was published at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
Know Before You Go
This is a private home and does not offer tours, so you can only view it from the street.