I was perusing the little free local newspaper that gets dropped off at my apartment weekly- The Villager. It’s a good source of interesting apartments and I am always looking for greener pastures..
This caught my eye:
“123-127 NINA, Historic Riley Row Brownstone, near Cathedral, studio and 1 bedrooms, $550-$850, heat paid, wood burning fireplace in each, hardwood floors, 11’ ceilings, 7’ windows, laundry, storage, attractive inside and out, beautiful neighborhood. 651-298-1905, immediately or September.”
For those who do not live in St. Paul, or don’t care to own a copy of “F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota, His Homes and Haunts”, here is what the author, John Koblas has to say about Riley Row:
“Laurel Terrace, also known as “Riley Row”, 286-298 Laurel. This row house also has apartments fronting on Nina Street.
In 1908 after Scott’s father Edward was fired from his sales job with Proctor and Gamble in Buffalo, New York, the family returned to St. Paul in July. Scott, age eleven, and his sister Annabel, seven, were welcomed into their grandmother McQuillian’s apartment at 239 Summit Avenue. Mrs. Fitzgerald was determined that her children should not be dragged down by their father’s failure. Scott was enrolled at St. Paul Academy and in Professor William H. Baker’s dancing class, where he met children who would be his “crowd” for the next ten years; a few would remain friends for much longer. But the Fitzgerald’s, like their houses, were always on the periphery of wealth, and Scott grew up “desiring with all the intensity of his nature to succeed according to [society’s] standards and always conscious of hovering socially on the edge of it, alternating between assertion and uncertainty because of his acute awareness that his foothold was unsure.”
In April, 1909, Grandmother McQuillian traveled abroad, and Scott’s parent’s joined their children at 294 Laurel [Riley Row].
Riley Row -named for it’s builder, William C. Riley- was built about 1884 of brownstone and red pressed brick following a three story town house plan popular in its day. Ten years later Louisa McQuillan moved in for the first time, living at 286 Laurel from 1894-1896. “
I learned on the bus tour of local Fitzgerald sites that this building was known throughout the neighborhood as “Rotten Row”- as one of the Hill son’s kept a mistress there. Apparently, he could see her windows from the James J. Hill House and knew when his mistress was ready for some company.
In other real estate news, my perusing of an older edition of The Villager found an ad for another Fitzgerald site for sale.
Apparently, 509 Holly is for sale for $676,000. “This sophisticated Brownstone was once the home of Scott Fitzgerald! It is a gorgeous 1885 row house with 4 finished levels, 3 bedrooms, 4 baths and exposed brick. It has a newer Northstar kitchen, skylights, 4,000 square feet and 4 fireplaces!”
-The Villager, July 14-27, 2004.
According to Koblas: “In September, 1910, the family moved across the street into “Shotwell’s House”, a row house at 509 Holly. Stewart B. Shotwell had been struck and killed by a car on May 22, 1910, and the youthful Fitzgerald had been an eye-witness. [At this address] Scott became an “inveterate author”, started smoking and acquired his first pair of long trousers and a more profound interest in the opposite sex.”
-Koblas, pg. 16.
The house below is 509 Holly. Sorry the image is so huge.