Here is an exciting opportunity for anyone who loves Baltimore’s literary history: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Bolton Hill rowhouse is now for sale! F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived in the home in the 1930s through several tumultuous years. The four bedroom, four bath house is going for $450,000. Take a look at the listing or stop by the open house before the Ravens take on the 49ers this Sunday, February 3 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm.
University of Baltimore student Nathan Dennies, a new volunteer working on Explore Baltimore Heritage, just finished a great story detailing Fitzgerald’s time at 1307 Park Avenue. Read on for an excerpt or find the full piece on Explore Baltimore Heritage. Don’t forget to download our free Explore Baltimore Heritage app for iPhone and Android!
In August 1933, F. Scott Fitzgerald moved with his family to 1307 Park Avenue. Fitzgerald had been forced out of his previous home in Towson due to a house fire attributed to his mentally ill wife, Zelda. Their rowhouse, a ten minute walk from the monument of Fitzgerald’s famous ancestor, Francis Scott Key, quickly became a place of turmoil, and was the last place where he and Zelda lived together.
Fitzgerald couldn’t get back on his feet at his new home. His first published novel in ten years, “Tender is The Night,” tanked after its April 1934 release, selling only 13,000 copies to mixed reviews, and left Fitzgerald under immense financial strain. Everyone in the house was affected. Zelda and Fitzgerald’s daughter, Francis Scott “Scottie” Fitzgerald, acted as a go-between for their landlord, forced to constantly ask her father for rent money.
Zelda, who spent her weekdays hospitalized at Sheppard Pratt in Towson, had a brief period of wellness during the first few months at 1307 Park Avenue and was allowed to go home and take painting classes at the Maryland Institute College of Art. However, her mental illness soon worsened and she was moved to the expensive Craig House sanitarium in New York, only to return to Sheppard Pratt in May 1934 in worse shape than ever.
While Zelda was in the hospital, Fitzgerald’s dependency on alcohol grew, and she even faced some hard times at the hospital. Writer H.L. Mencken, a friend of Fitzgerald who lived nearby in Mt. Vernon at the time, wrote in his journal in 1934, “The case of F. Scott Fitzgerald has become distressing. He is a boozing in a wild manner and has become a nuisance.”