Archive for the ‘Italianate’ Category

The Augustine B. Hawley House in Red Wing

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018
Augustine B. Hawley House in Red Wing

1105 4th Street W., Red Wing

On a large corner lot in Red Wing, sits a grand old home that can’t be missed, what with its purple porch and decorative eaves and brackets. It’s the home that Augustine Boyer Hawley built for his extended family in 1875. Sadly, he only enjoyed it for few years, dying at the young age of 44 in 1878, leaving behind his wife and 8 children.

The Man

One of the most generous things an old Minnesota family can do is donate their family history to the Minnesota Historic Society. Letters and papers help tell a story of not only their family members, but many times the history of the places they lived. There is a vast archive at MNHS about the Hawley family in Red Wing, including personal letters, that are a very intriguing read about the Hawley family, Red Wing, and history of the Minnesota and the United States.

Augustine Hawley arrived in Red Wing in 1857 to set up his medical practice, at the urging of a fellow Hobart classmate, and quickly became one of the preferred physicians in the area, traveling often to the countryside to see patients who were unable to come to town. He is described as a man of great character, intelligence, and charity. He was born in Caroline, New York in 1833 to Isaac A. Hawley and Anne Boyer, his father being a professor of the Classics at the University of Virginia.  In 1847, he entered Hobart College at the age of 14 and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in 1852. He went on to obtain his medical degree from Geneva Medical School in 1854. He studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Joel Hawley, but continued his studies overseas for two more years in Edinburgh, Scotland, as well as Dublin, London, and Paris, before moving to Minnesota. During the Civil War, he was appointed to sit on the examination board to qualify surgeon applicants heading out to various regiments of the Minnesota Volunteers.

Hawley was instrumental in helping establish the Christ Episcopal Church in Red Wing, inspiring his college classmate Reverend Edward. R. Welles to move to Red Wing to become the church’s first minister. Welles later became the first Episcopal bishop of Wisconsin. He also encouraged a fellow class mate of Hobart College, Dr. Charles Hewitt, to move to Red Wing to take over his medical practice in 1867.  Hewitt, already a distinguished doctor for his surgeon skills and preventative approach to medicine, agreed. Hewitt later helped found the Minnesota State Board of Health in 1872, and after studying at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, in 1890, he established the first laboratory for producing the smallpox vaccine in the United States on Dakota Street.

The House

The home was built circa 1875 in the Italianate style out of locally quarried limestone. It features 15 foot tall ceilings and 18+ inch thick walls. The photo below shows details of the original front porch: thinner columns, decorative brackets, and a narrow full facade porch (all indicative of the Italianate period). In 1903, the home was purchased by Albert F. Bullen, secretary and treasurer of the Minnesota Malting Company, who initiated a major remodel of the home two years later. The architectural firm of Purcell and Elmslie was hired to transform the interior of the home into the more up-to-date Arts & Crafts style that was popular at the beginning of the 20th century. Today the home is a fine example of how even historic homes, at one time, have undergone remodels to more “modern” styles.

Photo of Home Circa 1875

As for the Arts and Craft remodel, the original oak staircase, which extended straight down towards the front entrance, was replaced by a curved walnut staircase extending into what was once a main floor bedroom. A formal dining room, with coffered ceiling, paneled walls, and an elaborate buffet, replaced a second, main floor bedroom. (These two bedrooms were occupied by the 2 dowagers, Mr. Halwey’s mother and his mother-in-law.) The formal living room was expanded from two rooms into one with major additions: grand wood beams to the ceiling, relocation of the fireplace, tapestry applied to the walls, and Tiffany light fixtures. The front porch was enlarged and changed to what is seen today.

A year before Mr. Bullen’s death, he sold the home to Henry Stebbins, President of the Red Wing Milling Company. Interestingly, Stebbins sold the home 12 years later to the next President of the same company, Harold Meech. Today, the home still retains most of the original features from the 1905 remodel, as well as many of the original 1875 exterior Italianate features. It now operates as the Moondance Inn, an established bed and breakfast in Red Wing.

Story

The Hawley family has many stories that contribute to the history of Red Wing and Minnesota. One interesting story involves the famous bank robbery in Northfield by the James and Younger gangs in 1876. Some of the gang members stopped in Red Wing before the robbery, and upon leaving, asked a six year old boy playing on the side of the road the best way to get to Northfield. The boy told them, and in return was given a silver dollar in thanks. After news of the robbery reached Red Wing, it was found out that the men asking for directions were the robbers, and the one who tossed the coin to the boy was Cole Younger. The boy was George M. B. Hawley, the young son of Augustine Hawley.

The Bed and Breakfast is also For Sale with more photos and interactive tour at the Property Website.

The front porch remodeled in 1905.
The front parlor originally had a corner coal burning fireplace.
The main living room was opened up from two rooms with the addition of a wood burning fireplace during the 1905 remodel.
The formal dining room was created from an original bedroom in the 1905 remodel.
This room was originally a front bedroom and was opened up during the 1905 remodel for the new staircase.
A chandelier thought to be from the 1905 remodel.
The staircase redesigned during the 1905 remodel
The newel post design from the 1905 remodel includes a motif that became a signature design element of architect and designer George Elmslie.

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.