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Jack Kerouac’s St. Petersburg home could be yours for $350,000

The late beatnik author got permanently off the road when he moved into the house at 5169 10th Ave. N. in St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG —Frank Viggiano admits that he is not a Jack Kerouac super fan.

He bought the house where the late beatnik author got permanently off the road, at 5169 10th Ave. N, because he likes the neighborhood.

“The neighborhood is a good investment,” said Viggiano, who purchased the 1,760-square-foot residence for $220,000 in June.

But the author is the reason he and his wife, Paige Viggiano, restored the home’s classic look rather than modernize it.

Related: Jack Kerouac found the end of his road in St. Petersburg 50 years ago

“We consider this house to be historic,” said Viggiano, president of Flip Side, which specializes in flipping homes.

The three-bedroom, three-bathroom house is now on the market for $350,000.

Also included are items that might have belonged to Kerouac or his wife, Stella. There is a bed frame, three sewing machines, a rocking and lazy boy chair, table, china cabinet and china, books and drinking glasses.

An open house is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to noon Sunday.

Kerouac lived in the home with his mother and wife from 1965 until he died from liver cirrhosis on Oct. 21, 1969, at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Various books, china, glasses and pottery from the 1960s can be seen on a shelf in the former home of the late author Jack Kerouac at 5169 10th Ave. N. St. Petersburg. Th [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
The dining room in the former home of the late author Jack Kerouac. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Kerouac’s mother died in 1973 and his wife in 1990.

“After the wife died, they locked the doors,” realtor Troy Walseth said when asked if the items were authentic Kerouac. “No one has been in the house extensively except family.”

“It is all quintessential mid-century,” Viggiano said. The items, he said, were in the home when he purchased it.

When reached via text and sent photos of the decor, John Shen-Sampas of the Kerouac estate would only say that he “doesn’t recognize the furniture" and that he would “need to go in there and certify it.”

He also said that changes were made to the house after Kerouac died, so he cannot say for sure how authentic it is to the original look.

Still, furniture like kitchen stools and some of the tchotchkes on a shelf were there in 2013 when the Tampa Bay Times last took a tour of the house, according to archive photos. At the time, caretaker Pat Barmore said they dated to Kerouac’s era.

Barmore, who ran the nonprofit that cared for the house from 2013 to 2015, told the Times this week that he recalls the bed frame, sewing machines, dresser and china. He was told those belonged to Kerouac’s wife but was unsure if they date to the writer’s time there.

John Sampas, brother of Stella Kerouac and a resident of Connecticut, used the St. Petersburg home for vacationing from time to time but stopped visiting when age made regular travel difficult.

Sampas died in 2017 and passed the home on to his son, Shen-Sampas.

The nonprofit hoped to purchase the house and turn it into a writer’s retreat, but Barmore said they could not come up with the fund.

The house was in poor condition when Viggiano purchased it. There were rodents and collapsed ceilings.

Paige and Frank Viggiano renovated the former home of late author Jack Kerouac. It's for sale for $350,000 at 5169 10th Ave. N. St. Petersburg. That couch was added by the current owners and did not belong to Kerouac. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

“I took a lot of work, but we wanted to keep everything as authentic as we could, down to the outlets” Viggiano said. “We removed all outlets and cleaned them by hand to take off the aging and discoloration and then painted the walls the original color.”

Viggiano and Walseth admit the house comes with some baggage.

Fans of the On the Road author make pilgrimages to the house for photos. Some, Viggiano said, knock on the door.

“That might be a concern for the buyer,” Walseth said. “Or they might love it if Kerouac is the reason that they are buying it.”

The former home of the late author Jack Kerouac has been renovated and is for sale for $350,000 at 5169 10th Ave. N. St. Petersburg. The home is owned and was was renovated by Paige and Frank Viggiano, St. Petersburg, who own The Flip Side LLC, seen leaving the home. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]