Welcome to Tour de Kerouac a series of self-guided tours created by 501(c)3 charity Friends of Jack Kerouac founded in 2013, based in St. Petersburg, FL. We have customized this experience so that you can enjoy this journey anyway you feel most comfortable; bike, walk or drive. Learn about and interact with the sites that Kerouac frequented while living in St. Petersburg from 1964-66 and 1968-1969. Find our more about out charity by visiting the website FriendsofJackKerouac.org
Florida looms large in the last decades of Kerouac's life. Jack and his mother Gabrielle or Mémêre first moved to The Sunshine State in December of 1956 and eventually settled into an Orlando area bungalow house just down the road from his sister Caroline in 1957, at 1418 1/2 Clouser Ave.
The Clouser Ave. bungalow, now a writer's retreat run by the Kerouac Project, is where Kerouac banged out The Dharma Bums. Four years later he worked until six a.m. in the "Florida peace" (and central a/c) to finish another major book, Big Sur.
All told, Kerouac completed roughly a quarter of his novels in the Sunshine State, tinkering with Desolation Angels, The Subterraneans, and the book that brought him fame, On the Road.
From 1964 to 1966, in their first (of two) St. Petersburg homes, Kerouac dashed off Satori in Paris. And at the last house, working past his prime he cobbled together his final book Pic. Kerouac complained in his correspondence about the social isolation and "heatwave horror" of Summer. But the same isolation, his letters show, let him get work done.
Kerouac’s Florida is a story about “plying his trade and never giving up,” Bob Kealing maintains. We might honor the “practicing” wordsmith rather than the fatalistic drunk, the disciplined artist who momentarily kept his demons at bay to push through another book, following the sacred calling of his craft. Florida was not just the “end of the road” for Jack Kerouac. It was where he worked.
Research provided by our Board Members, Tom Hallock and Margaret Murray.
“Funding for this program was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this (publication) (program) (exhibition) (website) do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.”