Hastings author breathes life into Fitzgerald's St. Paul with new book
It was a move to St. Paul and a passion for English that started a fascination with F. Scott Fitzgerald. Now, after 35 years of research and three previously published Fitzgerald books, Hastings resident Dave Page has released his latest book, "F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: The Writer and His Friends at Home."
"It's a guide to Fitzgerald's Minnesota," Page said.
The book, which came out in May, features about 180 Minnesota addresses that relate to Fitzgerald, the famed 20th century writer who was born in St. Paul in 1896.
Although the book is about Fitzgerald and the places that are associated with him, Page said that the book also offers some architectural insight. Page said that he was always mesmerized by the architecture in the city of St. Paul so the combination of Fitzgerald and architecture sucked him into this book.
"People who are interested in architecture, who are interested in history, who are interested in Fitzgerald will like the book," Page said.
The book will discuss things like when a building was built, the history of it and the architecture itself. Fitzgerald lived during a time that had a lot of wealth and advancements, Page said. Many people were known to move often and the Fitzgerald's were no different. Page said that Fitzgerald lived at several addresses and so did many of his friends.
The book is organized by address in a format that is like a coffee table book. Page said that it is meant for people to be able to skim through the pictures and read the stories; not a book that you would read all in one sitting.
Some of the locations that Page wrote about in the book are public, so readers can walk into some of the buildings and experience the history first hand. One spot is The Commodore, located at 79 Western Ave. N. in St. Paul, which is where Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda lived for a time. Today, the building has been redone and now includes a bar and restaurant featuring art deco-inspired decor.
"It's a fun place to visit because you can get an idea of what it was like with Fitzgerald there," Page said.
The University Club is not too far from The Commodore located at 420 Summit Ave. in St. Paul. The University Club is where Fitzgerald attended many parties and dinners. W.A. Frost, located at 374 Selby Ave. in St. Paul is another place Fitzgerald used to frequent. In Fitzgerald's time, it was a place that he would go for a Coca-Cola. Today, it is an upscale New American fare and wine restaurant.
To celebrate the launch of Page's latest Fitzgerald book, there will be a Meet the Author and Artist event 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, at BreakAway Cafe. Page will give a presentation during a social hour at 6 p.m. where he will talk about the book and some of the connections Fitzgerald had to the city of Hastings.
The book's photographer, Jeff Krueger, will also be in attendance. An exhibit of his work titled "F. Scott Fitzgerald's St. Paul" will run at BreakAway Arts through Aug. 27. There will be books available and Page will have a book signing.