Friday, May 26, 2017

Seven Days of Information, Education, and Fun: Come Visit!!

At the book launch I attended Wednesday, I picked up this poster which announces a conference which occurs with some regularity in St. Paul. It is anticipated, attended and  appreciated by  educators, academics, students and Fitzgerald aficionados during this 7-day event. Scholars from all over the world will present papers and enjoy the " FitzFest," social activities and tours during this week-long event.

It get more complete information about the conference and activities click here.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Book Launch for a New Fitzgerald Book

The Commodore Hotel that was recently renovated is a St. Paul historical icon where Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda once lived, partied, and waited for the birth of their child, Scottie. For this reason alone it was an appropriate place for the book launch of a new book, "F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota." Approximately 75 people crowded into the ballroom to buy the book and meet both the photographer, Jeff Krueger and the author Dave Page, who is photographed above as he explains his interest in Fitzgerald and research. I had intended to present my posts by chronologically presenting the events of F. Scott's life, but this book launch really illustrates the interest St. Paulites have in one of their favourite sons. I'll return to other aspects of his life shortly. To learn more about the Commodore Bar and Restaurant click here to read some fascinating facts about the era: prohibition, the 19th and 21st Amendments, and some gangsters plus some great black and white photos.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

F. Scott's Dancing Lessons

Mrs. Backus’ Boarding School (586 Holly Ave): Built in 1890, this is where F. Scott Fitzgerald took dancing lessons as a boy. (Historic Photo: School in 1922)

Although it doesn't look the same, I have been told that this is the same building.
I am sure that dancing lessons weren't Scott's idea, but that was not an usual activity for the children among his mother's circle of friends. Because his grades were not very good, eventually he was expelled from St Paul Academy and enrolled in an Eastern boarding school at age 15. Until he entered Princeton, he was home only for the holidays.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fitzgerald's St Paul Academy

If Fitzgerald were alive today, he would not recognise St Paul Academy, the private all-boys school he attended in a small building on 25 Dale Street close to Summit Avenue. The Academy moved elsewhere in 1931 and is now co-educational, larger and  located on Cleveland Avenue. St Paul Academy is the school where I taught middle and upper school students in the English/Humanities department during my own educational career. Some of the short stories he wrote has been included in the middle school English classes.

 I never really cared for this particular statue of F. Scott located on the steps of the Dale Street original Academy building; I  much prefer the one in Rice Park in downtown St. Paul. Whenever I am in the area, I stop to chat with him and tell him how much I enjoyed teaching his short stories and The Great Gatsby in American Literature.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Some Fitzgerald homes

The weather in St Paul for the past week has been relentless rain; I haven't been able to get out to F. Scott's old neighbourhoods to take new photos so I have to rely on old archive photos for a few days.
For five years, Fitzgerald and his family lived in three different houses on this block on Holly Avenue, one of which has been torn down. When his father's financial problems began the family lived in an apartment pictured here as well as Grandmother McQuillan's large house, shown above. Later he used material from these childhood years to write magazine stories.
I feel very fortunate to restart the series at this time because on Wednesday, the author and photographer of another book  about Fitzgerald will have a launching party  at the Commodore Hotel, a St Paul landmark frequented by F. Scott and his friends. I'll be there! I'll include a photo of that building at a later date.  In the meantime, enjoy this Amazon photo of the new book.  

F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: the Writer and His Friends at Home.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

One of Our Boys!

481 Laurel Avenue, St Paul, Minnesota
the birthplace on September 24, 1896 of novelist


This residence is designated as a Literary Landmark by
Friends of Libraries, U.S.A.

In 2006 I did a photographic series of some of the landmarks in the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I think enough time has passed to repeat it because some of you may not have been part of CDP eleven years ago.

For the next few days, I will show you places where he lived, went to school during his early years, and where he hung out. He was born in this building to Edward and Mollie McQuillan Fitzgerald.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

My personal steed!

Who doesn't love a carousel?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Skywatch Friday in St. Paul


These are qualities that can’t be invented or imitated—only earned. In the world of commercial property, they’re qualities attached to a select few buildings. Buildings like the First National Bank Building, the quintessential St. Paul address for more than seven decades. Today, after an investment of millions in capital improvements, this St. Paul icon has been revitalized as a hub of speed, comfort and convenience, poised for seven more vibrant decades. Businesses of character are drawn to buildings of good character. And there’s only one First National Bank Building, shining true, a proven gem in the crown of St. Paul’s skyline.

The building is probably most known for the large neon red "1st" sign atop the building. The sign has three sides and rises four stories to a height of fifty feet.[In 1973 the sign was turned off in response to the energy crisis. The sign was relighted ten years later after a major renovation. The original "vermillion vitreous porcelain edged [sign] with a double row of red neon tubes" was replaced with solely red tubes. Around four thousand feet of neon tubing was used in the renovation. The sign can be seen from almost 75 miles away from the air at night and 20 miles away on a clear day.

After renovation in 2016 due to wind damage, the sign was relit, with a color changing LED sign. For the Winter Carnival in 2017, the sign changed color from neon red to icy blue.[12] In 2017, the signed was changed to purple, during the first anniversary of musician Prince's death.( Credit: Wiki)
In the evenings, the building is a beacon of light with its brightly colored sign and blinking lights visible from afar.

Linking to Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Practicing for "Nature" Theme Day-Herpetologist Olivia

Throwback Thursday: This is a repost from August 19, 2009, a Door County, Wi., vacation photo with my fearless grandaughter, Olivia. CDP's June theme day is coming soon, and since several people in the past have lamented that they have forgotten the day, here's a head's up!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sage Advice-The Nook

This is the fist sign one sees upon entering The Nook, bar and restaurant, located near the corner of Hamline and Randolph Avenues.
Linking to Signs, signs and ABC Wednesday