Evolution of a Restaurant: From Livestock to Luxury Living

There’s a neglected building downtown on 2nd Avenue that F. Scott Fitzgerald would have loved. It takes up most of one city block with a rounded corner front entrance, large paned glass windows and eyes that look out onto the street below not unlike Dr. T. J. Eckleburg’s in The Great Gatsby.  

These all knowing eyes of 2nd Avenue belong to a cow, a pig and a curly horned sheep. Animals now so out of place in an urban industrial neighborhood that they appear to be up to something unusual – something marvelous and clandestine.  The building they live on, itself, is peculiar with steep steps that spill out onto the sidewalk and armies of tall trees that hug the front facade like protective bodyguards.

It is a city block full of inherent curiosities. Stories that F. Scott would have rushed to translate as they tumbled out of the curtained glass windows, broken in places, or tangled themselves in the ivy running all over the backside of the building. You never see any activity come or go from the glass front door. Cars park alongside it carrying people to other places in the neighborhood. Exercisers walk or run down its sidewalks. Occasionally a homeless person will take a rest underneath the faded, flapping awning or dogs will stop to sniff around the bushes. But lights are never on inside and the doors are never open.

F. Scott would have imagined a grand but tortured story here. He would have hunted around in the grass grown parking lot, creating characters out of chipped fencing and rusted gates. He would have penned something poetic about the runaway garbage and the shattered beer bottles and the Parisian lamp posts missing their white light domes. Its a little more Valley of the Ashes then it is East Egg or West Egg but there’s a romance about this place that is intriguing.

If I described this building to someone out-of-town the first thing I’d mention was that it used to be a famous restaurant called The Stockyard in the 1980’s and 90’s.  When restaurateur Buddy Killen bought the building in 1985 he imagined it as the place where you could get the best steak in town along with Las Vegas style entertainment.  “The place where the stars are seen,” that was what he was aiming for.

In the restaurant days – awnings, menu offerings and the front entrance foyer. Photos via pinterest.

He pulled the property out of bankruptcy, added $400,000 worth of improvements and made it possible to seat 475 people in the 27,000 sqf building. His plans were very successful and for 30 years local residents, tourists and celebrities alike climbed the front steps, passed under the concrete eyes and stepped into a lively atmosphere serving the quality of steaks Buddy had hoped for.

Some of the famous clientele of the Stockyard (clockwise from top left): Andy Griffith, Vicki Lawrence, Jerry Lee Lewis, Loni Anderson and George Steinbrenner

But before the Stockyard ever became a famous restaurant it lived another life serving an entirely different purpose. The name of the restaurant and its signature menu items weren’t fly by night marketing ploys developed to envoke a theme and inspire an atmosphere.  Buddy brought things full-circle when he served steak and called his restaurant The Stockyard.

Originally, over a century ago this section of Nashville was called Butchertown for its concentration of numerous butcher shops and fresh meat availability. Long before Buddy ever set eyes on the building it served as a touchstone for an actual working stockyard – one that would become the most prominent and important livestock trading site in the Southeast.

In the mid-1910’s  there were several small trading yards around Nashville but local businessman James E. Caldwell wanted to create one central spot where all the animals, farmers, buyers and sellers could meet under one roof and get their business done fast and efficiently in a convivial atmosphere.

Caldwell found the perfect area for such an endeavor in open farmland just two blocks from the riverfront and four blocks east of the downtown business quadrant. In 1919, he hired contractors Foster & Creighton to begin working on a 10 acre mega-complex of sheds, barns and paddocks.

Nashville – Union Stockyards under construction – July 1919

Nashville-Union Stock Yard construction photographs, 1919

Local Nashville architect, Henry Closson Hibbs was selected to design an all weather building where business could be conducted year round and where stockyard management could set up offices.  H.C. came up with this rounded corner front entrance – a new trend in building design in the 1920’s – that would welcome visitors with open arms.

Nashville-Union Stock Yard building designed by H.C. (Henry Closson) Hibbs 1919-1920

These pictures below detail the lot assignment for the building and the construction as it occurred in 1919 and 1920.

The street corner allocated for the future site of the stockyard building.

Eventually all those pits and sticks and bricks formed this beautiful building, fully completed in 1920…

And you can see from this 1921 photograph how quickly the building became a popular meeting place. It even housed neighborhood amenities in the form of small retail businesses like a post office and a barber shop.

From 1921 to 1974 the Nashville-Union Stock Yards served as one of the busiest livestock markets in the region attracting farmers from Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi. Over 6,000 animals arrived daily for trade coming in via boat, rail car and farm truck. A long time bookkeeper for the Stock Yards said that it was not unusual to see cows walking down 2nd Avenue or an escaped hog loose from a pen.

A view of the stockyards circa 1965. Photograph by Gerald Holly.

That scene is hard to imagine now as the Stockyard sits in between government buildings and modern apartment hi-rises in what is currently one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Nashville. Remarkably, even though 95 years have passed the building still looks almost exactly the same…

The neighborhood however no longer looks like livestock. Downtown skyscrapers are just a few blocks away and the only animals in site are of the avian kind.

Parking lots and empty brick warehouses dominate the immediate areas surrounding the Stockyard now.

The Nashville Union Stock Yards closed down in 1974 due to high property taxes. Sheds and barns were torn down, shoots dismantled and paddocks turned into parking lots. But the building remained, making way for Buddy Killen’s initial restauranteering interest in 1979.  Buddy’s restaurant, The Stockyard closed in 2015 after 36 years in business. The building and surrounding property were sold to out-of-town developers who now have plans to turn it into a 300 unit apartment complex.

Learning this recent information, I worried for the fate of the building and for the eyes of Second Avenue. Would the building be torn down and a piece of history cast aside? Would the pig and cow and sheep that have watched over the neighborhood for nine decades be replaced with something new and artistically of-the-moment? Would H.C. Hibbs turn over in his grave as his beautifully designed building gets turned over in the dirt?

As a lover of historic architecture, I am happy to say that this story stays bright.  The developers plan to incorporate the century old building into their design plans, keeping the history and heritage of both agriculture and aesthetic alive. The eyes of Second Avenue will be given a whole new century’s worth of sites to watch over. I know it is cliche to say that I wish these figureheads could talk – but I really wish they could. They’ve been witness to major history since they were set among the bricks… the Great Depression, civil rights, the rise of the automobile, the demise of farming, the destruction of their neighborhood and now the revitalization of their neighborhood. Not to mention all those famous people that walked in and out.

Construction begins soon for the apartment project. Materials and work trailers are already being assembled in a neighboring lot. We are going to be following along on the progress of the construction to see how this local landmark of stock yard turned restaurant turned apartment complex evolves.  And of course to see what the eyes of 2nd avenue will now be staring down upon. I hope it turns out to be something incredible.  Stay tuned for periodic updates!

***A special thank you…this post would not have been possible without the help of the wonderful staff at the Tennessee State Archives and the Metro Archives at the Main Branch of the Nashville Public Library. If you are keen on learning more history about Nashville and the state of Tennessee, I strongly recommend a visit to both places. They are fascinating and full of so much information, you’ll want to move-in and stay for a week researching your heart out.  

The 20th century construction photos of the Nashville Union Stockyards  included in this post are courtesy of the Metro Archives. 

 

 

 

Reading Seasonably: 15 Vintage Books That Begin in Spring

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Happy Spring dear readers! It seems only fitting that the season so well-known for new beginnings and fresh starts would spill over into the world of books as well. In Spring, the words “chapter one” are both literal and figurative. Ms. Jeannie thought it would be fun to look at the variety of one season as it traveled through a century of books and affected a century’s worth of readers. Words are blooming on the vintage bookshelf! Let’s take in the view…

Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1939

#1. Tender Is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1939

We Were There with Lewis and Clark - James Munves, 1959

#2. We Were There with Lewis and Clark – James Munves, 1959

The Confidence-Man - Herman Melville, 1857

#3. The Confidence-Man – Herman Melville, 1857

American Captan - Edson Marshall , 1954

#4. American Captan – Edson Marshall , 1954

The Royal Road to Romance - Richard Halliburton, 1925

#5. The Royal Road to Romance – Richard Halliburton, 1925

On Golden Pond - Ernest Thompson , 1979

#6. On Golden Pond – Ernest Thompson , 1979

The Diary of Anais Nin: Volume Four 1944-1947 - Anais Nin , 1971

#7. The Diary of Anais Nin: Volume Four 1944-1947 – Anais Nin , 1971

The Seven Caves - Carleton S. Coon, 1957

#8. The Seven Caves – Carleton S. Coon, 1957

Land of Sky-Blue Waters - August Derleth, 1955

#9. Land of Sky-Blue Waters – August Derleth, 1955

Letters of a Woman Homesteader - Elinore Pruitt Stewart, 1914

#10. Letters of a Woman Homesteader – Elinore Pruitt Stewart, 1914

The Friendly Road - David Grayson, 1913

#11. The Friendly Road – David Grayson, 1913

Theophilus North - Thornton Wilder, 1973

#12. Theophilus North – Thornton Wilder, 1973

The Shoulders of Atlas - Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, 1908

#13. The Shoulders of Atlas – Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, 1908

I'd Rather Be Flying - Frank Kingston Smith , 1962

#14. I’d Rather Be Flying – Frank Kingston Smith , 1962

The Roosevelt Myth - John T. Flynn, 1948

#15. The Roosevelt Myth – John T. Flynn, 1948

That’s 122 years of Spring in one blog post! In keeping with tradition, this is the first post in a series about book collections that centers around a common theme. Lots of people collect books for lots of different reasons which makes for a big variety of interesting bookshelves. Ms. Jeannie collects books on travel writing, Africa and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Mr. Jeannie collects books on inventors, big ideas and Frank Lloyd Wright. Some people collect books by color or by cover, by title or by theme, by genre or design. Bookshelves are extensions of ourselves and how we choose to see the world. What kinds of books do you collect? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

*** To celebrate the new season, Ms. Jeannie is having a book sale! Take 15% off your next book purchase thru March 20th using coupon code SPRINGBLOG15 upon checkout. Book #3, #5, #12 and #13 are available in Ms. Jeannie’s shop along with a bevy of others here.  ***

Happy collecting!

 

9 Book & Movie Suggestions to Rest, Relax and Recover With

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Here we are dear readers rounding the corner to the finish line of Holiday Season 2015. You made it! You conquered all that hustle bustle, you cooked and cleaned and partied and pulled yourself through the merriest of months like a champion.

And by now, Ms. Jeannie bets you are ready for a little rest, a little relaxation or perhaps just some good old fashioned recovery time spent laying low. Ms. Jeannie has just the right thing for you… a suggestion list of the most entertaining books and movies she’s encountered throughout 2015.

Not all these suggestions came out, brand new, this year, some are a few years old and some are fifty years old but each of them carries the theme of history in a most interesting way, and each one will keep you entertained from start to finish.

Let’s take a look….

In the watching department, Ms. Jeannie fell in love with the following mini-series, movies and documentaries…

1. Dickens in America with Miriam Margoyles

Dickens in America: Travels with Miriam Margoyles

Dickens on the left, Miriam on the right:)

The retracing of Charles Dickens’ 1842 travels to the United States, this documentary series sent famed British actress Miriam Margoyles (perhaps the biggest fan of Charles Dickens ever!) to a variety of cities located throughout the Eastern US.  Visiting all the places Dickens traveled to… Boston, NYC, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois and Canada, Miriam also attempts to eat the same sorts of foods, stay in the same hotels and travel the cities in the same way he did.  The fun thing about this series is Miriam herself – a plug of energy, enthusiasm and quirky personality, she mirrors her contemporary viewpoints and attitudes alongside Dickens in all that was seen and experienced. She laughs, she cries, she compares and contrasts, she’s the ultimate fan and because of her devotion you can’t help but get caught up in her love affair as well.   Here’s a clip from one segment…

2. Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

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How Ms. Jeannie escaped hearing about this Australian tv show that has been airing since 2013 is a wonder. Set in 1920s/1930’s Melbourne, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries centers around thoroughly modern lady detective Phryne Fisher and the bevy of strange and unusual cases she solves.  Beautifully filmed, along the same glamorous lines as Downtown Abbey, Miss Phryne Fisher is  progressive in all things thought and action. The writing is smart, the wardrobes incredible and the cases always intriguing. Currently, in its third season now with new episodes beginning in January,  Ms. Jeannie recommends watching it from the very beginning because story lines do carry over from season to season.

This is the trailer for season one…

3. Mona Lisa is Missing

MLIMposter

The inspiration for this documentary came from one line in a book (aha!) discovered during the 1970s:

In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre by an Italian immigrant named Vincenzo Perugia.

Filmmmaker Joe Medieros became so obsessed with this one line and the story behind it that it took him the next 30 years to properly figure out what exactly happened to the world’s most famous painting. The result of his research is this fast-paced, funny and touching documentary stretching from New York all the way to Italy where he meets modern-day relatives of the thief who stole the painting, scours international archives, pursues all possible theories and does a re-enactment of how the whole situation went down at the Louvre step-by-step.  The winner of practically a gazillion film festivals around the world, Mona Lisa is Missing is so creatively put together using a mixture of paper cut outs, film footage and moving pictures it is as whimsical in presentation as it is in story.

4. Finding Vivian Maier

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Another equally fascinating real-life story, Finding Vivian Maier is a documentary about a thrifty collector who purchased a few boxes of old photographs at an auction. When he realizes upon returning home that the collection is quite extraordinary, he embarks on a vintage sleuthing escapade to uncover who exactly this photographer is, the influence of her art upon mid-century America and the unusual life she led in pursuit of  her passion. So incredible,  Ms. Jeannie will not say anything more about what happens because the pacing of this documentary and all that it reveals is fantastic. By the end of it – you’ll be a fan. Ms. Jeannie promises!

In the book department…

5. West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan (published 2015)

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When Ms. Jeannie traveled to Florida to take care of her sick dad in November, she spent the entire eleven hour drive each way listening to one audio book – West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan. As you know by now, (if you happen to be a regular reader of the blog) like Miriam Margoyles and  her Dickens, Ms. Jeannie has a slight obsession with anything F. Scott Fitzgerald, so she was super excited to discover this newly released novel which centers around the last three years of F. Scott’s life.

F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald

F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald

This was the point in his story (the late 1930’s) when his wife,  Zelda was receiving care in a mental hospital in North Carolina and he was on the opposite coast, in Hollywood writing scripts to try to drum up enough money to live. Throughout Stewart O’Nan’s novel, F. Scott travels between life in the  make-believe city of Los Angeles where he spends time with Bogart and Hemingway, Deitrich and Cukor and real-life in North Carolina where Zelda is loosing teeth and losing touch. F. Scott tries to maintain a sense of marital stability, loyalty and companionship to Zelda but this hospitalized woman is someone he no longer recognizes, a child-like version of the dynamic and vivacious woman she once was.   By this time, The Great Gatsby has already been published but it is not nearly the revered literary work that is today so  F. Scott in Stewart’s world is old and tired and struggling, plodding day by day at his typewriter, driven by his love of words and his desire to string a noteworthy line.

F. Scott & Zelda around the time of the book's setting.

F. Scott & Zelda around the time of the book’s setting.

Thanks to Stewart O’Nan’s humanistic approach to the end of F. Scott’s life we understand how difficult it must have been to  keep up with costs to support Zelda’s mental health care, to keep his teenage daughter Scottie’s school tuition afloat and to also just be able to maintain his day to day living expenses in California while also dealing with the mental ups and downs of an unreliable creative enterprise like movie-making  in California.  You might know F. Scott as an alcoholic, a child of Jazz age decadence and of day to day living without future thought but Stewart O’Nan paints a highly researched depiction of this great writer in his final flawed years when he was trying – really trying- excruciatingly trying – to not drink so much, to keep his career current and to take care of his family. This is what makes this book fantastic. In our modern way of seeing success so easily promoted via social media it is easy to forget about struggle, about building, about putting in the time in so that success can happen. Stewart O’ Nan deals with all that – the unglamorous, every day side to F. Scott which made him real and likable and ultimately relateable. And there are also some very cool scenes filled with glamorous Hollywood parties and celebrity encounters that make your imagination fly:)

6. So We Read On – Maureen Corrigan (published 2014)

sowereadon

NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan shared her love of all things Gatsby in So We Read On, determining why and how F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby is still so relevant and so important in today’s world. Covering all aspects of the book, from its writer to its subject to its themes and its reception both then and now, Maureen examines Gatsby from all sides (literally and figuratively). She even travels all the way back to her high school where she first read Gatsby and where kids now in the 2000’s  are still required to read it in order to see what the modern day perception of the nearly 100 year old novel is today. How could a book written in 1925 still be so universally relevant 90 years later? You don’t have to be a superfan to understand Maureen’s book,  it is wonderfully written as a quasi-memoir and interpretation of one woman’s love of reading and the impact that one particular book made upon her life.

7. A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway (published 1964)

Ms. Jeannie most highly recommends reading this book aloud, because there is a little magic that happens when you both speak and hear the lines of someone else’s memoir. The subject becomes much more intimate and much more consuming.

The true story of Ernest Hemingway’s experience of living and writing in Paris at the very start of his career, A Moveable Feast will transport you immediately out of your current situation and deposit you in the cafe scene that is Paris of the 1930’s. You’ll hear first-hand, in his own voice, how Ernest struggled to build the sentences that would build his career and how he would struggle to understand the people that moved in and out of his life, including his own wife who was a marvel of odd and exotic understanding.

Ernest amid the 1920's Parisian cafe scene.

Ernest amid the 1920’s Parisian cafe scene.

You’ll learn how he plodded every day though the mud that is the creative writing field, while also experiencing the commonplace genius and artistic camaraderie that would make this time in Paris legendary. And most importantly you’ll see probably the most vulnerable side of Ernest, in his own words, before he was confident and comfortable in his own writing skin, while he was struggling to make enough money to buy dinner for his wife and baby, to buy a book from Shakespeare & Company or to buy a hot coffee to keep warm while he wrote on a cold day. This is Ernest at the very beginning, a keen observer of the situation before him.

8. Empty Mansions – Bill Dedman (published 2015)

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Changing gears completely from Jazz Age Paris to contemporary New York high society, Empty Mansions is the true story of Huguette Clark of New York City and the story of her family’s fortune which spans the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries as it spreads from Colorado to Arizona to New York City’s Fifth Avenue.

huguetteclark1

Huguette Clark (1906-2011)

Now rumored to be in consideration for film adaptation, Ms. Jeannie can completely understand because the book opens with the reclusive story of Huguette, a once beautiful debutante, now aged and afraid to show her face in public due to a cancer causing facial disfigurement. From the opening pages you try to decide if Hugettte is an eccentric reclusive like the Edie Beales of Grey Gardens or if she is just extremely shy and private trying to live a life away from the press.

As the book continues and the story unfolds you wonder if she is prey to the strange health care system that plagues our country and to the managers of her welfare or if she is an indomitable force that controls her own destiny living life on her terms and her terms only.

New York's famed 5th Avenue where the Clark famil lived among other tycoon neighbors like the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers

New York’s famed 5th Avenue where the Clark family lived alongside other tycoon neighbors like the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers

Providing back story to Huguette’s unusual lifestyle, you learn about her family’s genealogy and the American dream fantasy of hard work, risky decisions and big rewards that built their fortune and made them a formidable impression on the New York business scene of Victorian metropolitan life. You learn about the tragedies that befell the family as well as the triumphs, how they rose to fame and slowly withdrew from it, and how all those moments one by one compiled themselves onto the outlook and attitude of Huguette and shaped a century of life.

9. Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning – Elizabeth Partridge (published 2013)

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Both a book and a PBS documentary, Grab A Hunk of Lightning tells the whole story of famed photographer Dorothea Lange from how she started as an awkward teenager first learning how to use a camera through experimentation and expression to how she turned into a trained eye that would make her one of the most famous photographers of the 20th century.

Dorthea Lange's most well-known photograph, The Migrant Mother, taken in 1936

Dorothea Lange’s most well-known photograph, The Migrant Mother, taken in 1936

Beautifully laid out in folio style, Grab A Hunk of Lightening, written by Dorothea’s god-daughter, gives insight into the production and story behind her personal life and her professional photographs. And it also tells the story, again like Ernest Hemingway in A Moveable Feast and  F. Scott Fitzgerald in West of Sunset how one thing led to another in terms of career and creativity. Dorothea was a working artist trying to pay bills all the while attempting to build a style, a career and a vision that was uniquely hers. Despite difficult circumstances, marriage, children, house moves, illness and lack of confidence, Dorothea humbly went about pursuing her craft every day of her life, putting one foot in front of another.

Hope you find some new and exiting material here dear readers! If you had any extra special favorites in the book and movie department this year please share your thoughts in the comments section!

May the rest of your 2015 be lazy and lovely. Cheers and happy Happy New Year’s dear readers!!!

 

 

Passion Flower: Discovering the 20th Century’s Most Popular Female Writer

As you know from Ms. Jeannie’s previous posts – she’s got gardening on her mind. So she thought this would be an appropriate time to do a little further sleuthing on one of the flower themed items in her Etsy shop…

The 1930’s era women’s fiction book, Passion Flower.

Passion Flower book from msjeannieology

Written by Kathleen Thompson Norris, one of the highest paid literary writers of her time, her books mostly told stories of the women of upper-class society. Passion Flower in keeping with that theme, details the story of an elite women who falls in love with her chauffeur.

Kathleen Norris in 1925

Kathleen was born July 16th, 1880 in San Francisco, married fellow writer Charles Norris (1881-1945) and published over  80 novels in her lifetime. She also wrote four collections of short stories, one play and 10 non-fiction books. Goodness gracious, she was one busy lady!

Author Ann Douglas, in her book Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhatten in  the 1920’s described Kathleen’s work …

“Kathleen Norris was the most interesting novelist of feminine and matriarchal sentimentalist essentialism in the 1910s and 1920s; vastly popular, with a curious literary style that seems to owe a good deal to Henry  James, she developed the themes that would dominate the soaps of early radio, aroused the ire (and perhaps envy) of Dorothy Parker, was adored by Alexander Wollcott (always a fan of the matriarch), and took acre of Elinor Wylie’s stepchildren (they were related by marriage; forgotten today, she is well worth in-depth study. “

In addition to being a writer, she was also a strong feminist, promoter of women’s rights, joined Charles Lindbergh in the 1930’s to oppose US ships carrying supplies to the British, called for capital punishment and campaigned for the outlaw of nuclear rights.

Kathleen Thomson Norris – photo courtesy of Garver Graver

Kathleen spoke sensibly about following dreams and achieving goals. Clearly this philosphy was working for her!

 “Before you begin a thing, remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead. If you could see them clearly, naturally you could do a great deal to get rid of them but you can’t. You can only see one thing clearly and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin.” – Kathleen Norris

Charles Gilman Norris – photo courtesy of Garver Graver 

Kathleen’s husband, Charles Norris was a prolific writer as well. Possibly best known for his book, Salt, in which F. Scott Fitzgerald claimed:

“I know Gatsby better than I know my own child.  My first instinct after your letter was to let him go & have Tom Buchanan dominate the book (I suppose he’s the best character I’ve ever done–I think he and the brother in “Salt” & Hurstwood in “Sister Carrie” are the three best characters in American fiction in the last twenty years, perhaps and perhaps not) but Gatsby sticks in my heart.”

Side Note: Ms. Jeannie’s absolute most favorite book in the world is The Great Gatsby, so she is always on the look out for any F. Scott Fitzgerald references!

Kathleen and Charles owned a 200 acre ranch in Santa Clara County, California where, as Kathleen’s novels rose in popularity, they entertained many a celebrity and Hollywood A-lister.   This is a photo of their home, located in Palo Alto.

Kathleen & Charles’ Spanish Colonial style home. Palo Alto, CA.

The house is still there today and  is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can read more about the property here, as well as see more photos and design plans.

In 1930, Passion Flower was made into a movie starring the beautiful Kay Francis, one of the most popular actresses of  Hollywood’s Golden Era.  Interestingly enough, she had something in common with Kathleen.  Kay was  one of the  highest paid actresses of the 1930’s. Her estimated annual salary was $115,000. As a comparison, Bette Davis’ annual salary at the same time, was $8,000.

Kay Francis

Here’s a photo from the movie featuring Kay and her leading man costar Charles Bickford…

By the end of Kathleen’s career, her books had sold over 10 million copies.  She died in San Francisco in 1966. Her collection of works and papers are stored at the Special Collections Departments of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Stanford University.

She was quoted as saying:

“Life is easier than you’d think; all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable.”

Interested in who the highest paid author is in our 21st century,  Ms Jeannie was surprised (sort of) to learn that it was Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, who in 2010 alone earned $40 million. Her series, comprised of four books, has sold over 100 million copies to date.

Stephenie Meyer

In one of those, if you could have lunch with anybody, living or dead scenarios, Ms. Jeannie thinks it would be interesting to sit down with Kathleen Norris and Stephenie Meyer.

Both women, highly successful in their writing careers, both having the luxury of seeing their own success, and both having the ability to connect with their readers on passionate emotional levels, would provide for some thought provoking conversation.

Kathleen prided herself on diligently focusing on goals to achieve success while Stephenie attributes her success to having the confidence to explore her dream state, which was how the plot for Twilight started.  Ms. Jeannie loves that both women achieved successful writing careers using two totally different motivations.

It is always great to have little reminders of our motivations in life. Ms. Jeannie found these two Kathleen/Stephenie approved ones on Etsy…

The Future Belongs To Our Dreams Art Poster by misterio

Goal Without A Plan Plaque from Crestfield

Ms. Jeannie thought it would be fun to imagine the writing spaces of these two very different women with the almost 100 year gap between them.  Using Etsy, as her design shopping center, Ms. Jeannie put together these two worlds… based on the information she just learned about them…

Kathleen Norris’ 1930’s inspired writing niche…

1937 Royal KHM Typewriter from MidMd

Antique 1920’s Secretary Desk from SecondRevival

1930’s Vintage Box of Gladiator Pen Nibs from kelleystreetvintage

1930’s French Writing Paper from the vintagearcade

Art Deco Brass Lamp from VintageLancaster

Vintage 1920s Blotting Papers from LuncheonetteVintage

Antique Oak Captain’s Chair from dajaxsurbanattic

1930s Dictionary Word Bundles from VintageScraps

The New Woman – 1897 Stereoview Photo from NiepceGallery

Stephenie Meyer’s contemporary Twilight inspired office…

Vinyl Decal Kit for Laptops from SkinKits

Ebony Writing Desk by JiriKalina

Twig Pencils by braggingbags

Woodgrain Writing Set by AshleyPahl

Forest Table Lamp from tansyandco

Journal with Eleanor Roosevelt Quote by watermarkbindery

Computer Keyboard Wrist Cushions by HomeGrownPillows

Mod Shimmer Chair by AryCollection

Wall Decal Twilight Quote by InspirationsbyAmelia

Wolf Dog Photograph by EmeraldTownRaven