Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Montgomery, Alabama

Our last stop on the way back to Atlanta was in Montgomery, Alabama, where we had a few things on our agenda. The first was another stop on the Southern Literary Trail at the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum at 919 Felder Avenue. Zelda was a Montgomery native and met Scott in 1918 at a country club dance while he was stationed there with the U.S. Army. We passed the site of this country club (now a Sonic) on our way to lunch afterwards.

The home remains the only of the Fitzgeralds' many residences to still be in existence. The couple and their daughter, Scottie, rented the home from September 1931 to February 1932. Zelda wrote her first draft of her only novel, Save Me the Waltz, while they lived here. Scott started writing Tender is the Night.

Today the home is subdivided into several apartments, and the first one on the right downstairs is the museum. About three rooms are on display and have furniture both of the period and that the Fitzgeralds owned. The museum's director, Michael McCreedy, showed us around and provided lots of helpful information. As it turns out, the Southern Literary Trail was born out of a meeting held in one of the museum's rooms. Ten of Zelda's paintings are on display at the museum, and more will be exhibited this fall at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts to coincide with a Eudora Welty photography exhibit. There's a good chance I'll need to go back to Montgomery for all of that!

One interesting fact that McCreedy shared is that Zelda's family, the Sayres, was the owner of the home that became the First White House of the Confederacy, and the family sold the home to the CSA to house Jefferson Davis and his family in 1861 before they relocated to Richmond, Virginia. So that meant that after we met up with an old friend for lunch, we had to check it out for ourselves.

The home is furnished beautifully with period pieces, including some from the Sayre family. It contains many items from the Davis family as well, and there is also information about the home's preservation.

All in all, pretty interesting stuff. The trip was a huge success. Now I guess it's time to start planning the next one!

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