The colorful history and vast beauty of Minnesota brings a wide appreciation and pride to residents of the state. While Minnesotans admire the nature and architecture throughout the land, the past and present residents of the state provide another level of pride as well. Many famous and successful literary icons are associated with Minnesota and lovers of literature can get a little closer to these gifted authors by visiting landmarks throughout the state.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Laurel House
481 Laurel Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102
On what would have been his 108th birthday, the St. Paul home where F. Scott Fitzgerald was born became registered as a national literary landmark. This was Fitzgerald’s home for the first two years of his life. Fitzgerald, named for his famous cousin Francis Scott Key, is thought to be one of the greatest novelists of all time. His most famous work about the corruption and spirit of the jazz age was “The Great Gatsby.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Summit House
599 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Another home of interest to Fitzgerald fans is the Summit House in St. Paul. Not very far from his birthplace on Laurel Avenue, this is a home where Fitzgerald spent many years writing novels. In particular, Fitzgerald completed his 1919 work “This Side of Paradise” while he resided here. Both homes are not open to the general public but can be viewed on a walking tour of St. Paul.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
330 8th St.
Walnut Grove, MN 56180
Another famous personality and author to hail from Minnesota is the American pioneer Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura Ingalls Wilder was born just across the Minnesota border in Pepin, Wis. She is known for her “Little House on the Prairie” novels that depict her youth and adventures growing up. There is a wide collection of Wilder memorabilia housed in this museum.
Maud Hart Lovelace
214 Center St.
Mankato, MN 56001
Maud Hart Lovelace (1892-1980) was born and raised in Mankato, Minn. Her most famous literary works were known as the “Betsy-Tacy” books, a series of books written for children that increase in reading level with each new story. The books are based on her own childhood in Mankato and take place in the fictional town of Deep Valley, Minn, modeled after Mankato. The homes where Maud and her sister grew up are featured in the “Betsy-Tacy” stories and are based on the lives of the two sisters. The actual homes can be visited and toured in Mankato and include a museum and gift shop dedicated to the life of Maud Hart Lovelace. Both homes are listed on the National Register for Literary Landmarks.
Sinclair Lewis’ Gravesite
Sauk Centre, MN 56378
Sinclair Lewis was a successful novelist, playwright and short story writer from Sauk Centre, Minn. Lewis was undoubtedly ahead of his time, addressing themes of feminism, racism and fascism in his works. His most famous work was the 1920 novel “Main Street.” In 1930, Sinclair Lewis became the first American to earn the Nobel Prize for Literature and although he traveled frequently and lived in many places across the United States, his cremated remains are located in Greenwood Cemetery in Sauk Centre, where he was born.
10 E. Exchange St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
One of the most famous modern entertainers and authors to hail from Minnesota is Garrison Keillor, creator of “A Prairie Home Companion.” Keillor’s fictional boyhood home is called Lake Wobegon, where the radio show (“A Prairie Home Companion”) is broadcast from. The town is said to be modeled after many small farm towns in western Minnesota and residents of these towns relate to the humor of Keillor’s works. Visit Lake Wobegon and Garrison Keillor at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul during a broadcast performance to enjoy “A Prairie Home Companion” live. The theatre can be considered a landmark in itself as it is named after the great F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for eight years. She loves covering all things Minnesota and her work can be found on Examiner.com.