The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Grave

Sep 6, 2016 | 2 comments

F Scott Fitzgerald circa 1921

F. Scott Fitzgerald circa 1921

The grave of renowned 20th century novelist F. Scott (Francis Scott Key) Fitzgerald is located the middle of Rockville, Maryland, right next to St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The historic church and its graveyard were dedicated in 1817.

Fitzgerald’s novels in the 1920s included This Side of Paradise, Tender is the Night, The Beautiful and The Damned, and his most famous work, The Great Gatsby.

The the city of Rockville has grown enormously over the past two decades. Fitzgerald’s final resting place is in an old cemetery right next to a very busy highway. It’s hard to find if you don’t know where to look. The church’s address is 520 Viers Mill Road, but to get to their parking lot, you have to access it from Church Street, just north on Rockville Pike from the confluence of Rockville Pike and Viers Mill Road.

Francis Scott Key Zelda booksFitzgerald was raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, but his family roots are in Maryland. Read his history at Wikipedia.

He died in Hollywood of a heart attack at the age of 44 in 1940.

Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda were not practicing Catholics, and his Jazz Age writings cast a bit of a scandalous air over their legacy. They were buried in Rockville Union Cemetery, a nondenominational cemetery in another part of Rockville. Their daughter Scottie petitioned to have their remains transferred to St. Mary’s, to rest with other Fitzgerald relatives, in 1975.

Their daughter, who lived from 1921 to 1986, is also buried in St. Mary’s Church cemetery with her parents.

On the day of my visit, dried roses, a fountain pen and a small pot of live flowers adorned the grave. I added my two books, to be close to his greatness.

The last words of The Great Gatsby cover F. Scott and Zelda’s grave: “And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Thanks for the memories and the luminous writing.

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