Mar 9, 2022 - Things to Do

Jack Kerouac house plans 100th birthday celebration

Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac in 1958. Photo: Getty Images

The good people trying to preserve the last earthly home of one of America's most distinguished writers have scheduled a handful of notable events Saturday to celebrate what would've been Jack Kerouac's 100th birthday.

  • The years-long effort to save the Jack Kerouac house has gained steam in the past few years and even got some ink in the New Yorker.
  • The owners hope to secure historic designation for the house and eventually want to host tours, writers residencies and folk shows in the backyard.

Flashback: When St. Pete Times reporter Jack McClintock knocked on the door at 5169 10th Avenue N in St. Pete in the fall of 1969, he found a disheveled Kerouac sitting in a rocking chair, chasing whiskey with Falstaff beer and watching Walter Cronkite on a silent television while Handel's "Messiah" blared from a record player.

  • McClintock's story about Kerouac β€” the last known interview with the author of 17 books such as "On The Road" and "The Dharma Bums" β€” gave readers a portrait of the writer's life at the end, living in the modest ranch house he bought his invalid mother and complaining about how lonely he was and how little money he was making.

Yes, but: Few know that Kerouac spent his last year or so in St. Pete.

  • He had a terrible hernia, and he'd be dead a few weeks after the interview, despite transfusions of 15 liters of blood and three hours of surgery.

What's happening: Radio St. Pete will broadcast the Florida Folk Show live from the kitchen of the Kerouac house Saturday morning, featuring original songs about Kerouac from local songwriters Pat Barmore, Jane Fallon, Tom Scudiero, Grant Peeples and others.

  • Tours: The public is invited to tour the house from noon to 5:30pm. Tickets.
  • Readings: Volunteers will take turns reading Kerouac's famous "Mexico City Blues" at the house.

The Flamingo: Kerouac's favorite bar, and the last place he had a drink before collapsing later at the house, will host "Jack Kerouac Night" with four hours of live music starting at 7pm.

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