Archive for the ‘Cass Gilbert’ Category

The Leedom Sharp House in St. Paul

Monday, January 15th, 2018

20-22 N. Kent, St. Paul

If you were a senior railroad employee in the late 1800’s, this home could have been the place your family resided while you traveled for work. Designed by Cass Gilbert and James Knox Taylor and built in 1889 as a double house, the residence of 20 Kent was designed for Leedom Sharp.

Sharp was born in New York City Janurary 20, 1860 to Benjamin Sharp and Hannah Leedom. His grandfather, John Sharp, immigrated from Yorkshire, England in 1815 and was a prominent merchant in Philadelphia, while his great-grandfather Leedom arrived in America much earlier and was a well known iron merchant in Philadelphia.

Leedom Sharp

In 1877, at the age of 17, he entered the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania and graduated three years later (he had to withdraw in 1879 before graduation due to his young age and graduate in 1880 when he would be allowed to enter the Bar at the age of 20). He went into practice, moving to St. Paul sometime in the 1880’s. While living here, he stumped for Benjamin Harrison’s presidential campaigns and found time to develop property in Ramsey Hill. (He commissioned Gilbert to also build rowhouses next door at the corner of Kent and Portland, known as Portland Terrace in 1888). He also found his wife and married in 1884. Discovering he had no taste for the law, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his uncle and brother and study medicine, moving back to Pennsylvania and earning his medical degree in 1895. He was raised a Quaker, and was also a Mason and Knight Templar.

As for the home he lived in for a few short years, the original main floor was divided into a living room and dining room and the living quarters were on the top two floors. There was a a double staircase (now converted to a single staircase) on the main floor, as well as a separate servant’s staircase. During the war, each floor became a separate apartment, but is now again a single family residence.


House in 1976