ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Florida house where famed writer and “King of the Beats” Jack Kerouac spent his final years is for sale.
Kerouac, the author of the seminal novel “On the Road” who coined the term “Beat Generation,” moved into the modest home on 10th Avenue North in St. Petersburg in 1965 with his mother and third wife Stella Sampas Kerouac. His mother wanted to escape the harsh winters in Lowell, Massachusetts.
He was not happy with the move.
“St. Petersburg is a place where old ladies walk all by themselves at midnight, talking to themselves on the sidewalk,” Kerouac said at the time, Tampa Bay Magazine reported.
He is believed to have been working on a novel about his father’s print shop at the time of this death, the Tampa Bay Times reported. However, Kerouac’s time spent in St. Pete is known more for a barrage of heavy drinking and blaring jazz music, according to the book “Pop Culture Florida.” A book-store where Kerouac frequented, and would move his novels to more prominent positions, is believed to be haunted by his ghost.
“I’m the world-famous author, Jack Kerouac,” he was known to shout while walking down the streets of St. Pete.
He lived in the three-bedroom, three-bathroom house with his mother and wife until his death Oct. 21, 1969 from complications from cirrhosis of the liver. He was 47. Kerouac’s mother died in 1973. His wife died in 1990.
Kerouac’s wife’s family still used the house to enjoy the Florida winters until recently. A nonprofit taking care of the home had hoped to fundraise enough money to buy, restore and turn it into a writer’s retreat, but was unable to.
“After the wife died, they locked the doors,” real estate agent Troy Walseth told the Times. “No one has been in the house extensively except family.”
Investor Frank Viggiano bought the aging property for $220,000 earlier this year. It’s been listed for $350,000.
The home has been fixed up with the majority of its original features, including freshly polished terrazzo floors and colorful period bathrooms still intact. Mid century modern furniture and other accents flow throughout each room.
“It took a lot of work, but we wanted to keep everything as authentic as we could, down to the outlets” Viggiano told the Times. “We removed all outlets and cleaned them by hand to take off the aging and discoloration and then painted the walls the original color.”
An official with the Kerouac estate told the Times he would have to visit the house to verify the provenance of the chairs and other items.
This is not the only house in Florida where Kerouac lived.
When his novel “On the Road” was published, he was living in a house in Orlando. He also lived at the Orlando house while he wrote the novel “The Dharma Bums.” A non-profit, The Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, owns the structure and has a residence program that allows aspiring writers to live there free for three months to gain inspiration.
“Fame makes you stop writing,” Kerouac once said.
Cox Media Group