MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - In the midst of renovations, leaders at the F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum uncovered wallpaper, still on the walls, that dates back to the early 1900′s.
“We found up to 10 different patterns,” said Sara Powell, Executive Director of the museum.
The museum recently completed renovations to one of the upstairs apartments, and put it up for rent on Airbnb. It was in the process of renovating the other upstairs apartment, when a reporter from the New York Times stopped by and the discovery was made.
“She asked us to remove a picture from the wall, and it just happened to peel a little piece of paint. Behind the paint we noticed a little hexagon pattern, so that started the process,” Powell explained. “We ended up peeling the whole wall and finding a whole wall of historic wallpaper.”
The house on Felder Avenue in Old Cloverdale was built in 1909, and some of the wallpaper is believed it could have been original to the house.
“The fact that we’ve been able to uncover this amount and the way it’s been preserved over this amount of time is really incredible,” remarked Powell. “We’ve gotten repeating patterns on all of them, we’ve gotten enough out of each one that we’re able to digitally have a visual of that, so we’re hoping we can digitally reproduce them as well even if we’re not able to restore all of the pieces that we found so far.”
Powell expects this discovery will ramp up the preservation efforts. This is just the first step in more than a million dollars in restoration ahead of the museum.
“We’ve got structural issues that we’re starting to have challenges with. We’re starting with the roof, that should be coming up in the next few months. Then we go to harder things like the foundation. But our goal is the preserve the downstairs floor as it was when Scott and Zelda lived here. And to maintain the apartments as they’ve been, but to keep doing airbnb and residencies primarily. We’d love scholars and writers to be able to come and stay in this space.”
This discovery also ramps up the effort to get the F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum on the National Historic Registry. Getting the museum on a national registry will open up national funding for the F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald museum.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, perhaps best known for writing "The Great Gatsby", lived in the home with his wife Zelda. It’s believed he wrote portions of two other novels, "Tender is the Night" and "Save Me the Waltz", inside the house. The couple led something of a "gypsy" lifestyle. Their average residence in any of their "homes" was only about 5 months.
The F. Scott & Zelda Museum is regularly open to the public, and holds an open house every year around Christmas. Fans have the opportunity to visit, and then stay the night.
To learn more, and book a stay, visit thefitzgeraldmuseum.org/airbnb.html
“To be a space that you can actually experience Montgomery, walk through the neighborhoods, live as Scott and Zelda lived in the 30′s, is really fantastic,” Powell described. “We have records and books in the apartments. People kind of unplug and unwind, and that’s our goal, is just to kind of disconnect.”