F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the most recognizable names in American literature. At Commonwealth Companies, we have another name for him: A “regular.”
By that, we don’t mean he was a regular guy. After all, he wrote The Great Gatsby. We 're saying he was a “regular” at more than one of the properties in our portfolio. That’s quite remarkable if we do say so ourselves.
The beloved restaurant W.A. Frost didn’t open until decades after Fitzgerald’s death, but the building that houses it at 372 Selby Avenue was a “frequent hangout” for Fitzgerald during his young adulthood. During this period, he was writing his first published book, This Side of Paradise. Apparently, he drew inspiration from the goings-on in and around the pharmacy on Selby.
Perhaps most famously, Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda lived at the Commodore Hotel in 1921. They found their way to The Commodore after being evicted from a cottage in White Bear Lake, reportedly due to excessive partying and accompanying shenanigans.
Zelda was pregnant with their first child at the time, but from what we hear, they weren’t exactly engaged in typical pre-parenthood “nesting” behavior—particularly given evidence that they (or at least F. Scott) took full advantage of the “speakeasy” operating in the basement - So much for Prohibition!
After the birth of their child, the Fitzgerald family no longer lived at the Commodore, were still regulars on the social scene, notably at The University Club, where they spent a lot of time living it up with other “who’s who” of Saint Paul society. They particularly enjoyed the bar and as well as the Club’s regular dances.
You can still visit all of these places today and ask yourself: If these walls could talk.