71 Highland Avenue
Buffalo, NY

Click on illustrations for larger size

Queen Anne style home

Hexagonal turret

Ornamented pediment
porch roof;
brackets and

Front porch stick
balustrade railing

F. Scott Fitzgerald in Buffalo

In September 1905, Scott transferred from Holy Angel's Academy and enrolled in Nardin Academy, one of the first Catholic private schools (founded by Miss Ernestine Nardin in 1857). Later, Fitzgerald recalled Nardin: a football player he admired named Norbert Sullivan, and an argument with a teacher. (Fitzgerald spelled the school "Miss Narden's.)

In October 1905, Scott's family. led his socially ambitious mother, moved to 71 Highland Avenue. Although it was a more prosperous address, the Highland house gave the jimjams to biographer Turnbull: "To the other residents of Highland there was something forbidding about the Fitzgerald's life in the house with the single turret that resembled a witch's hat, and Scott was more apt to be playing at the neighbors' houses than his own."

He frequented the Powells across the street (80 Highland), where there was usually a crowd of youngsters on the porch.

71 Highland has changed since Fitzgerald days. "Originally the house was clapboard, with double glass doors," the owner, Mrs. Eslick, said in 1994. "When Fitzgerald lived there, the house looked Victorian." Fitzgerald biographer Turnbull stayed with the Eslicks years ago when he was researching his book. Mrs. Eslick was amazed when he wanted especially to see the attic. "Our attic is the worst - I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to go up there," she said.

Turnbull was seeking evidence of something Fitzgerald had told him. "It was in his notes, how Scott Fitzgerald used to go to the attic and swing," Mrs. Eslick says. "He had a swing, and Turnbull could visualize it."

The swing had been attached by hooks to the ceiling, and Turnbull, gazing up, saw what he was looking for. "There they were," Mrs. Eslick said. "The hooks are right up there in the attic."

Photos and their arrangement © 2002 Chuck LaChiusa

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