Would You Tear Down F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Home?


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Throughout his literary career in the early twentieth century, F. Scott Fitzgerald frequently spent his summers in Minnesota. He built and lived in a number of homes across what is now known as the Twin Cities.

The Dilemma: Teardown or Remodel?

In 2004, Peter Hagstrom, the owner of Hagstrom Builder, purchased a Greek-Revival style home in Dellwood, Minnesota, which he soon learned had once been one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s summer homes.

Peter had been planning to tear the home down—however, due to the home’s contribution to architectural tradition, and its historical significance, he decided to remodel it instead.

Many homeowners, when they are looking for a new home, look at the properties that existing homes stand on, and treat it as a foregone conclusion that they will tear the home down to make room for their vision.

F Scott Fitzgerald Family Room

The Benefits of Remodeling

If a home has preexisting architectural merit, if it was built in the style of a traditional Tutor home or a Greek-Revival, or another traditional style, Peter Hagstrom argues that that style should, if possible, be saved and that home-owners should remodel, not rebuild.

A few benefits of choosing to remodel instead of tear down include:

  1. The owner does not need to spend time and money on the demolition of the existing home.
  2. Savings! The owner saves huge amounts of money by having a preexisting foundation. Furthermore, the lumber costs saved by reusing the home’s framing are considerable.

“Remodeling a home instead of demo-ing it is the highest form of recycling,” says Peter Hagstrom. “Being able to reuse all that lumber is a huge cost benefit.”

Peter Hagstrom has chosen to remodel many of the homes he’s lived in, from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Greek Revival to a Minnesotan family’s traditional Tutor home. Instead of merely purchasing a home for it’s property, Peter Hagstrom advocates purchasing the home and maintaining the legacy of those who have lived there.

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Photos courtesy of Hagstrom Builder

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