If you have a passion for reading and travel, you should consider visiting some of the following places to see during your next trip. You’ll get a charge out of seeing these former haunts of and inspirational places for some of America’s greatest writers.
- The Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, FL — The residence of Ernest Hemingway from 1931 to 1940, this house is the most popular tourist attraction in Key West. Hemingway wrote some of his best known works while living in this home. That includes the non-fiction work Green Hills of Africa in 1935; the 1936 short stories The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber; and the novels To Have and Have Not (1937) and Islands in the Stream (1970), which was found after the author’s death (it was published posthumously). This eclectic two-story masonry house was auctioned off and subsequently converted into a private museum in 1964. “The Hemingway Home” was designated a National Historic Landmark on November 24, 1968.
- Zora Neale Hurston House in Fort Pierce, FL — Built in 1957, this was the home of author Zora Neale Hurston from then until her death. The modest single-story house constructed of a stuccoed concrete block exterior and flat tar-and-gravel roof was one of a number of identical homes built by C.C. Benton, M.D. Hurston, one of the leading female African-American writers of the mid-20th century, lived rent-free in this house (courtesy of Dr. Benton). While there, she worked as a journalist for the Fort Pierce Chronicle, taught English at the nearby public magnate school, and worked on her manuscript for Herod the Great, a major work that remained unpublished at her death. The “Zora Neale Hurston House,” which was designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark on December 4, 1991, is the only known home of Hurston’s to survive.
- Mercer Williams House Museum in Savannah, GA — Once known as the “Mercer House,” this house is the setting of a story told in the 1994 John Berendt book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, about the 1981 shooting death of Danny Hansford by the home’s then-owner, Jim Williams. It is also featured in the movie adaptation of the book, released three years later. Designed in the Italianate style for General Hugh Mercer (great-grandfather of the songwriter Johnny Mercer), construction of the house began in 1860. The project was interrupted by the American Civil War, and finally completed around 1868 by the then-new owner, cotton merchant John Randolph Wilder. Nobody of the Mercer name ever lived in this house.
- The National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, NE — Home of the largest collection of national-designated historic sites related and dedicated to an American author, this is an award-winning arts and cultural center that serves as a living memorial to Willa Cather. Cather is known for her works about life on the Great Plains, including O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia, and her descriptions of frontier life in Nebraska were an important part of literary canon of the early 20th century. A visit to The Center is an adventure through about 60 miles of countryside and more than 20 Cather-related historic sites. The “Willa Cather House,” a historic house museum also known as the “Willa Cather Childhood Home,” is one of eight structures that make up the Willa Cather State Historic Site. The “Cather Second Home” is where Cather’s parents and siblings lived after she left for college, but it is a place that she returned to often. “Willa Cather Memorial Prairie” is a botanical treasure of more than 600 acres of unbroken land that was returned to its re-1900 conditions, a time before the encroachment of settlers. The “Willa Cather Childhood Home” was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
- Andalusia Farm in Milledgeville, GA — A historic home once owned by author Flannery O’Connor, the land on which “Andalusia” was first built had been a working plantation of between 1,500 and 1,700 acres in the mid-19th century. The estate now comprises 544 acres, including the plantation house where O’Connor wrote some of her best-known fiction. In 1951, O’Connor returned to the state where she had grown up after being diagnosed with a form of lupus. She first lived in the family home, but after her mother jointly inherited the property and O’Connor’s health improved, they moved to Andalusia, then still a working farm. The bulk of O’Connor’s work was written at “Andalusia Farm” and several of her short stories are set in the area, including The Displaced Person, which scholars identify as the one that closest resembles the farm. This home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and opened as a museum in 2003. “Andalusia Farm” was designated a National Historic Landmark on February 24, 2022.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald House in St. Paul, MN — Also known as “Summit Terrace,” this home of F. Scott Fitzgerald is part of a group of houses designed in the “New York Style” of distinctive character found in some rowhouses in eastern cities. Fitzgerald lived here from 1918 to 1920 and in July and August 1919, and this is where he rewrote the manuscript that became his first novel, This Side of Paradise and several short stories. Of all of the places where Fitzgerald lived, this one is most closely associated with his literary fame, and typifies the environments of some of his later works. The “F. Scott Fitzgerald House” was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
- The Wren’s Nest in Atlanta, GA — The “Joel Chandler Harris House,” also known as “The Wren’s Nest” or “Snap Bean Farm,” is a Queen Anne style house that was built around 1870. It was home for Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus tales, from 1881 until his death in 1908. Constructed in an area then known for its upper-class residents, Harris rented the home for two years before buying it with earnings from his first book Uncle Remus: Songs and Sayings. “The Wren’s Nest” was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and is now a historic house museum.
‘Thinking of any other literary places you’ve visited or would love to visit. Please share them with us via email to talk2me-at-leetdedeet.com and we’ll add them to our bucket list!
Originally posted on Leet De-Deet — and reprinted by permission.