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Summer Palace

" Summer Palace" was Fannie Hurst's name for Hamilton. She was born Oct. 19, 1885, in Hamilton, a daughter of Samuel and Rose Koppel Hurst, during a visit to her maternal grandparents, David and Caroline Koppel, 918 Central Avenue (later the site of the Hamilton Lumber Co.). Her parents had been married in the same house Jan. 11, 1885. Her parents resided in St. Louis, but Fannie was a frequent visitor to her birthplace. As a child, she spent summer months in Hamilton, which she later called her "summer palace." Hurst -- author of dozens of novels, plays, short stories, essays and screenplays -- wrote mostly about ordinary people and, to better understand their problems and struggles, worked briefly as a nursemaid, sales clerk, waitress and in sweatshops. She took the jobs so her writing could champion the cause of those suffering economic hardships and prejudice. "Those summers in Hamilton were practically my first taste of nature in the close-up," Hurst said in recalling her visits in her autobiography, Anatomy of Me. "The wheat-growing sun of Ohio beat into the white dust of Hamilton streets. I was free to roam through meadows, pastures and along streams to smells that were new to me. I can taste and smell Hamilton," she wrote in 1958. She died Feb. 23, 1968, in New York City.

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