Lake Forest home of real-life Daisy Buchanan sells for $7.5M

Price markets highest locally since 2018

F. Scott Fitzgerald and socialite Ginevra King Mitchell with house at 901 Rosemary Road in Chicago (Getty, Wikipedia, Zillow)
F. Scott Fitzgerald and socialite Ginevra King Mitchell with house at 901 Rosemary Road in Chicago (Getty, Wikipedia, Zillow)

A Lake Forest mansion with ties to F. Scott Fitzgerald sold for $7.5 million, the highest price for a home in the town in four years.

The six-bedroom, 11,600-square-foot home, known as “La Vieille Maison” hit the market in March 2021 with an asking price of $10.5 million, Crain’s reported. It went into contract this week.

The 5.2-acre estate was the 40th Chicago-area home to sell for $5 million or more this year, compared with 48 in 2021. The last time a home in Lake Forest, among Chicago’s affluent suburbs, sold for more was in 2018, when Nancy Hughes, the widow of 1980s filmmaker John Hughes, paid $12 million for a 3.4-acre property on nearby Mayflower Road.

Originally built in 1888 for a Chicago map publisher, the Rosemary Road mansion was remodeled in 1910 for well-to-do newlyweds William and Ginevra King Mitchell. She inspired the character Daisy Buchanan in Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

Fitzgerald met King Mitchell, one of Chicago’s “Big Four” debutantes during World War I, when they were teenagers in his hometown of St. Paul, Minn. After he visited her at her parent’s home in Lake Forest, King Mitchell shifted her attention to the much wealthier Mitchell, the son of a local bank president.

Fitzgerald went on to create characters in Gatsby and short stories that were based on King Mitchell. Another Gatsby character, Jordan Baker, was based on one of Chicago’s other “Big Four” debutantes, amateur golfer Edith Cummings.

The Mitchell family owned the home until 1988. In 1995, a couple bought the home and used it on weekends. Before listing the home in 2007 and selling it in 2011, the pipes burst. A rehab firm bought the property for $2.25 million and sold it to the most recent owners for $5 million in 2013.

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