Archive for the ‘Italianate’ Category

Burbank-Livingston-Griggs House on Summit

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

432 Summit Avenue, St. Paul
The Burbank-Livingston-Griggs is the second oldest home still standing on the avenue and was built by James Burbank in 1862. It is constructed of Mendota Limestone and was designed by Otis E. Wheelock of Chicago. Over the years the home has been touched by some of the most famous architects in Minnesota, including Clarence Johnston (1884), Allen Stem (1925), and Edwin Lundie.

The home is a fantastic representation of the Italianate style that was very popular from 1840-1880. Of the five Italian style villas built on the bluff, only two remain. Key exterior features of the home are the cupola that sits on top of the roof, the low pitched roof, tall narrow windows with arches, and large decorative brackets at the eaves. The home is situated on an acre of land and boasts a little over 10,000 square feet. With 7 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, the home is larger than it seems from the outside. Those lucky enough to see the inside would be astounded by the beauty. Mrs Theodore Griggs had many rooms imported after 1900 including a French drawing room, an Elizabethan study, and Italian paneled dining room, and a marble corridor to the mirrored ballroom. The last recorded sale of the home was in 1996 and is believed to be the only sale of the home in the last century.

Italianate Home in Pelican Rapids

Sunday, June 12th, 2011
22 Fifth Avenue Southwest, Pelican Rapids
In Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, there is a great Italianate home that sits on a hill which is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. It was built circa 1883-1887 for Otto Andreas Edward Blyberg, known in the area as “the first merchant, the first postmaster, the first man to build a frame house, and the father of the first child born in the village”. Pelican Rapids was settled mainly by Norwegians, starting when the town was platted in 1872. 

It features over 3800 square feet, 5 bedrooms, and 3 baths.

Photo of home, 1974
Photo of home, 1983

The Theodore Sheldon Mansion in Red Wing

Monday, April 18th, 2011

805 W 4th Street, Red Wing

When driving by this grand historic home in Red Wing, MN, it becomes quite apparent that something just doesn’t seem right. You would be correct to notice that the Italianate looking home has a tower that seems to stand out more than usual for a home of this style. The answer to the mystery is that the third floor is missing.

Built in 1876 for Theodore B Sheldon, the home was designed by St. Paul architect A.M. Radclifff in the French Second Empire style. Born in Massachusetts in 1820, Mr. Sheldon was involved with many business ventures which helped his fortune grow including, mercantile, real estate, grain, transportation, and bank President. He died in 1900.

Home as originally built

Over the years, the home has seen many owners, but has remained in fantastic condition for its age. It is also listed on the National Registry for Historic Places. Sometime around 1960, the owner at the time was unable to finance the repair of the Mansard roof (due to water damage) so he removed the entire third level of the home, forever changing the home from Second Empire to Italianate. While it would cost a great deal to reconstruct the third level, it would be nice to see the exterior of the home returned to its full original splendor.

Picture of the home 1960

Picture of home 1974

The Julian Weaver House

Friday, April 16th, 2010
863 Lincoln St, Granite Falls, MN

Saving a historic home is not an easy task, especially when no one wants it. In 2005, the Weaver house was placed on the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota’s 2005 10 Most Endangered List, as the city wanted the home to be moved off the flood plain, and if no site was found, the home would be demolished.

Built in 1878 by Julian A. Weaver, a civil war veteran, this Italianate home is one of the most intact examples of 1870s residential architecture remaining in west-central Minnesota. Seeing as most of the surrounding homes had been demolished over the years, or moved, it was extremely important that this home be saved.

The Granite Falls Historical Society and the City of Granite Falls had looked for three years to find a buyer to no avail. In January 2008, just as the home was slated for demolition, Sarina Otaibi, an undergraduate college student, offered to purchase it and saved it from demolition.The house was moved three blocks away in May of 2008, and Ms. Otaibi spent the next year in renovations, and eventually sold the home to a new owner in December 2009.

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota awarded Ms. Otaibi a Minnesota Preservation Emerging Leader award for her efforts in historic preservation.

Sibling Italianate Homes in Winona Minnesota

Friday, January 29th, 2010

259 Broadway St. E, Winona, Minnesota

The original large brackets at the eave which used to dominate the cornice of this Italianate historic house have since been removed. Hard to see in this photo, but if you zoom into the decorative band below the eave, you can see how trim has been added to repair the removal of the brackets. Amazingly the cupola still remains, where on the sister house, it has since been removed.

The most notable feature on both houses is the gambrel shaped gable on the front facade which is borrowed from colonial styled homes.

The window hoods on this home are very decorative and truly unique.

277 Broadway St. E, Winona, Minnesota

The cupola for this home, as I can only assume there was one because of its sister next door, has since been removed. However thankfully the large eave brackets are still intact, and give us proof of what the brackets would have looked like on the home next door. An interesting detail is that while both homes have the front entrance in the same location, the chimneys are on opposite sides of the floor plan.

A photo of the home as it looked in 1973

Italianate Historic Home in West Seventh Uppertown, Saint Paul

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

194 McBoal Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Built between 1877-1880, this Italianate home was chopped into apartments for most of its life until recent owners restored the home to single family. Known as the O’Brien-Diederich House, Patrick O’Brien and his wife Fannie were the original owners, with the Diederich family taking ownership sometime around 1889.

Born in 1841 in Ireland, the O’Brien family immigrated to the United States in 1843, and settled in Saint Paul in the 1850’s. Eventually, Patrick O’Brien worked his way up in the postal service to Assistant Postmaster of Saint Paul, appointed as such in 1875 by Frederick Driscoll (who built 266 Summit Avenue). He had six children with dress maker and wife, Frances (Fannie) Higgins O’Brien.

The current owners have done a fantastic job resorting the home to look as it might have originally. The detail and porch reconstruction, completed by Authentic Construction, is simply stunning.

The Minnesota Historical Society has a photo of the carriage step with the family name Diederich, the second owner of the home, taken in 1936.

Hidden Italianate Home in Nokomis

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
5028 Hiawatha Ave, Minneapolis

This fantastic example of Italianate design his a hidden gem in the Nokomis area of Minneapolis. Built sometime around 1875, it is one of the oldest surviving historic homes in the area. In the recent past, the home has been restored, and the colors chosen really make the home stand out in the neighborhood. The home originally has a cupola on the roof, since removed, and evidence still exists on the roof with the square cap. Looking at the front of the home, I would guess it also had a front porch, as the lower windows do not have window hoods, and the siding is different where a roof line would have been.


Beautiful decorative window hoods still adorn the windows.

The Cameron House in La Crescent, Minnesota

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

I travel through La Crescent every now and then when we want to visit family. It is a great little Mississippi River town in southeast Minnesota, just across the river from La Crosse, Wisconsin. The area was founded in 1851 by Peter Cameron and his wife, who later died in 1855.

The Italianate house, known as the Cameron House, was built in 1871 by Daniel J. Cameron, the younger brother of Peter Cameron by 16 years. Mr. Cameron was a railroad contractor who moved to the area from New York around 1859. According to history, Mr. Cameron was well known for digging through mountains ( for railroads, that is) in California, Arkansas, and Ontario.

429 -435 S Seventh St, La Crescent, MN

I was able to find a photo taken in 1974. At some point in time the porch was enclosed, as seen in the photograph, but now it looks like one of the recent owners has brought the porch back to its original state, removing the screens.. They have also done a fantastic paint job on the home, highlighting the architectural details. The cupola on the roof is one of the largest I have seen.

I found an interesting read on a website which gives a history of Emma Eastman, wife of La Crescent founder, Peter Cameron. In 1859, Daniel Cameron, brother of Peter, came to the area to call on Emma regarding some deeds from his brother’s estate. Apparently, as the story goes, Emma didn’t like what he had to say and took two shots at him. The first went through his coat, and the second shot off his little finger.

Historic Italianate Home in Stillwater

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

911 Sixth Ave S, Stillwater, MN

Known as the John Moodhe House, this fine representation of Italianate architecture was constructed somewhere between 1878 -1882 for the sum of $700. While brick construction is not common for local Italianate homes, the brick does allow for architectural details not found in wood sided homes. At the corners of the home are prominent quoins and under the windows are lentils. The arched windows, brick window crown, and low pitched roof are some other characteristics of the style. The only thing really missing are large decorative brackets under the eaves, but it looks like the home never had them.

The house was sold a year ago for $504,000. It has a little over 2700 square feet, three bedrooms, and three bathrooms.

Historic Italianate Home in Farmington, MN

Friday, November 7th, 2008

In Farmington MN, there is a great example of the Italianate historic home style. Located at 521 Oak St, the home sits on a large corner lot and was built around 1880. It looks to be in pretty good condition, retaining the original brackets and window hoods, not to mention the widow’s walk.