F. Scott Fitzgerald in Buffalo, NY 1898 -1901

F. Scott Fitzgerald House
29 Irving Place, Buffalo, NY

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

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Dance card

Front-gabled Italianate . Two stories. Originally, the porch, uncovered, extended across the front of the house

Pedimented portico is segmentally-arched around a keystone (painted red and under the dentils) and supported by square columns

Large, paired decorative brackets and dentils under the wide eaves of the gabled roof.

Modern storm door and windows over leaded glass transom and Side lights

Bay: round arch windows. Note leaded glass window - detailed in next photo

Same window from inside the house

Round window with quatrefoil design

Right side (south) bay

Front hall stairway

Living room facing Irving. Tall windows



One of a pair of portrait-ornamented keystones

Plaster of Paris ceiling medallion

Living room. Adele Cohen painting

Dining room.
Note windows

Special thanks to Alison Kimberly for her cooperation and graciousness.

Fireplace fronter was found in the house by new owners (the Kimberlys) in 1970

An excerpt from F. Scott Fitzgerald in Buffalo:

September 1903 - September 1905

The Fitzgerald family visited the Exposition, and in September 1903 they moved back to Buffalo, this time around the corner from the Lenox, at 29 Irving Place, in Allentown, not far from the the Proctor & Gamble offices at 683 Main Street. Scott was now seven years old, a handsome little kid with gray-green eyes and blond hair.

Biographer Andrew Turnbull described Irving Place this way: "A single tree-lined block- a lovely sheltered spot for a poet to grow up in. Children played ball in the dappled shade or raced their buckboards down the sloping street, one of the first where asphalt had replaced the universal cobbles."

It was a time when Irving residents lighted the summer nights with Japanese lanterns stretched across porches. Although it is rumored that Fitzgerald acted out plays in this attic, the current owner (in June of 2000), Alison Kimberly, points out that there is no attic in the building.

His best friend was a boy named Hamilton Wende, whose family had theatrical connections and who obtained free tickets for Teck Theater matinees. Spellbound, the boys would rush home to re-enact the plays. They gave performances for the neighborhood children and charged admission.

Another boyhood friend was Ted Keating, whose Delaware Avenue home had a common backyard with 29 Irving. The boys would tie long stretches of string to each other's toes at night, so they could awaken each other in the morning.

At 7, Scott already showed the style that would be his hallmark. So polished was he that his father joked he'd give $5 to hear Scott swear. He learned dancing at the Century Club. A dance card that Scott kept yields prominent Buffalo names. Dorothy Knox, for instance, was Seymour Knox's sister, and Harriet Mack's family owned the Buffalo Times. The Macks lived at the head of Highland Avenue in a big old Victorian house, the Norman Mack House.

The late Austin M. Fox wrote the following in the December Issue of Buffalo Spree: "Early on, Scott exhibited considerable interest in girls. Accordingly, he seems to have particularly enjoyed Van Arnum's dancing classes, where his blond good looks and his dancing finesse made a hit with young daughters of well-connected families, such as Kitty Williams, Marie Lautz, and Dorothy Knox, whom he mentions in his 'Thoughtbook.' He records that he won first place in Kitty's affection until dancing school stopped in the spring, at which time he lost the coveted position to rival Johnny Gowans (later a brilliant, well-known, all-around amateur athlete in this area).

"Present local descendants of Kitty, Marie and Dorothy can add a certain folklore status to their family histories by mentioning at appropriate times, that their grandmother or great-aunt had been kissed by Scott Fitzgerald during youthful post office games at a party of the dancing school group."

Scott had a dog named "Beautiful Joe," a black cocker spaniel, and also a bicycle - a girl's bicycle. He was sent to school at the Holy Angels Convent (now defunct) at the corner of Porter and West Avenues under the arrangement that he needed to go half a day and was allowed to choose which half.

29 Irving

The house - not unusual - was built in sections.  There are many outside walls on the interior.  The front section (double parlor) that is highly ornamented (ceilings, floors) was built much earlier; then came the dining room; then the front part of the kitchen and finally the back room of the kitchen.  Each of the walls is many courses of brick and is considered an outside wall.

Architectural Features:


Irving Place:

Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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