Archive for the ‘Queen Anne Victorian’ Category

Irvine Park Brick Beauty in Saint Paul

Monday, March 29th, 2010

59 Irvine Park, Saint Paul, MN

This beautiful home on Irvine Park was built in 1889 by architect Emil Ulrici for the family of Dr. Justus Ohage. Sadly, just weeks after it was finished, Mrs. Ohage died, and Mr. Ohage was left to raise his five children on his own.

Mr. Ohage was quite a busy man. In 1886, he preformed the first successful gall-bladder surgery. From 1899-1907 he was the first city Commissioner of Health, and in 1900, helped finance the purchase of Harriet Island, rip-rapping the banks and constructing bathhouses and swimming areas. After all was done, he donated it all to the City of Saint Paul.

The Queen Anne styled home itself is made of Kasota stone, limestone, and yellow brick. Some of its notable features include the four-story octagonal corner tower, the cast iron columned porte cochere, and the Richardson Romanesque arched windows. Sadly, in 1984, the original transom windows in the sitting room, dining room, and living room were stolen, so the current owner had them recreated from old photos.

I was able to find an older photo of the home taken in 1936. By comparing them, you can see how the painted white trim of today gives the home a totally different appearance. The details, to me, don’t stand out as much as they do in the 1936 photo, and some of the details have since been removed over the years. In this 1972 photo, the upper part of the tower is missing, but in 1979, as this photo shows, effort was under way to restore the home to what it once looked like, especially with the reconstruction of the tower, a task completed by a Great-nephew of Dr. Ohage.

The home was featured in the February 2007 issue of Midwest Home Magazine, as the current owners have gone to great lengths to further restore the home.

The Sauntry Mansion is Stillwater

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

626 N 4th St, Stillwater

This beautiful Queen Anne historic home in Stillwater was built in 1881 by William Sauntry, a local lumber baron. The Recreation Hall sitting directly behind the mansion, or Gymnasium as it was called back in the day, was built in 1902 in the Moorish style, and is now a separate residence. Both buildings are on the National Registry of Historic Places.

While not a pioneer of the lumber trade in Stillwater, William Sauntry learned his craft from the best, the Timber King Frederick Weyerhaeuser. Weyerhaeuser took Sauntry, who is related to Bing Crosby, under his wing where Sauntry flourished. Sauntry directed the Ann River Logging Company which cut most of the last logs in the St. Croix River Valley. When logging dried up, Sauntry put his money into mining on some lands he owned on the Mesabi range. Not knowing a thing about the mining business, he ended up losing what money he had earned from logging. On November 10, 1914, at the Ryan Hotel in Saint Paul, he committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver.

Sauntry Mansion in 1921, Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

Sauntry Mansion in 1921, Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

The Suantry Mansion is now run as a very successful Bed and Breakfast by the current owners, who purchased the home about ten years ago.

Inside the gymnasium in 1919

Inside the gymnasium in 1919, Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

A Simple Victorian Being Restored

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

I have driven by this house quite often in Saint Paul over the last year. It was a multi-unit building up for sale, and being a Realtor, I have watched its progress on the market. Finally, in April, the home sold at a very cheap price. It has always been my suspicion that the original siding was still on the home.

Yesterday I drove by the home to find an exciting site. The new owners are in the process of restoring this simple, but soon to be beautiful Victorian. I love it when the original trim work and decoration lays hidden because it gives the restorer the design template often destroyed as historic homes fall into neglect. It also quite often offers clues on the original porch design, as you can tell by color variations on the wood where the porch roof line fell. Below is a photo of what they have uncovered for decorative trim.

Hopefully within the next year, we will see a final product, and another old home thankfully saved!

Romantic Victorian in Dayton’s Bluff

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
732 Margaret Street, Saint Paul

Built in 1891 by Hermann Kretz, a well known architect in the area, the home was designed for the Henry Defiel family. Mr. Defiel owned the People’s Ice Company, obtaining ice in the winter from Lake Minnetonka and White Bear Lake.

The architectural detail in this Queen Anne Victorian is unique since the exterior is constructed of brick. The masonry touches, as seen in the oval windows on the front of the home, give the home a slightly romantic feel. The home has roughly 4000 square feet and is located in Dayton’s Bluff.

Blue Queen Anne in Saint Paul

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

431 Ashland Ave, Saint Paul

Built in 1890 by Ole Ask, this beautiful home is one of my favorites on Ashland. I am not sure if it is the perfect shade of blue that does it for me, or the white gingerbread trim around the house, but the home just stands out on its street. Amazingly, according to Larry Millett, the home was originally built at 825 Dayton Ave, and was moved to this location in 1977.
Here is a photo of the house that use to stand at 431 Ashland Ave.

Row Houses – Woodlawn Terrace

Thursday, April 17th, 2008
This weeks feature is not of a home, but of a historic building called Woodland Terrace in St. Paul.

Located on Dayton Avenue, the row house was built in 1889, supposedly by B.J. Buechner. They were renovated in the 1980s and updated with new mechanicals, etc. The building really is amazing once you get a closer look. The patterned brickwork and small stone carvings throughout, including the arched entry ways, really make the building “pop”. At first glance, the buildings look Richardson Romanesque because of the stone work, but when you look at the gables, balcony design, windows, and roof line, Queen Anne Victorian screams out at you.

There is currently one unit for sale through Coldwell Banker for $645,000. To give you an idea on size, the four level unit has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and around 2700 square feet. Many people compare these units to those found in New England Brownstone row houses.

Masonry Queen Anne on Summit Avenue

Thursday, February 21st, 2008
This weeks featured Historic Home in St Paul is 749 Summit Avenue.


Built in 1888 by the famous Clarence Johnston and in collaboration with William Willcox, the home was commissioned by The Wheeler Family and cost around $12,000 to build.

At first glance, you might think the home was built in the Richardson Romanesque style, mostly impart to the rough cut stone on the exterior walls. However it lacks any of the arches that define that style. Instead, it fits rightly into the a Queen Anne Victorian “masonry” category. The tower on the left has been built into the home and does not rise higher than the third story ridge line.
The home has been wonderfully restored to its former beauty. The wood work alone inside is something that could never be duplicated today without great cost to the home owner. At approximately 6500 square feet, the home has six bedroom, 5 baths, and a detached two-car garage.
This past June, the home sold for $1.475 Million. Hard to believe a home would sell for that much and not have air conditioning. But many of these old homes still do not have the luxury as the cost to install, without disrupting the historical integrity of the home, is extremely high.

Historic Queen Anne Gets Face Lift in Saint Paul

Monday, January 21st, 2008

This weeks Historic Home in St Paul is 353 Summit Avenue.

Built in 1882 for William Dean, the home “only” cost $15,000 to build. Mr. Dean was a partner for the local wholesale hardware firm, Nicols, Dean, and Gregg, and also sat on the Great Northern Railroad board of directors. Little is known about the architect. A photo exists of the home taken in 1895. Designed as a Queen Anne Victorian, it is a great example of half-timbering.

Around 1900, the home was altered beyond recognition of its original Queen Anne style. Below is a photo of what the home had looked like up until 2005.

As you can see, it looks nothing like the beautiful Queen Anne of 1882. The front gable and chimneys are the only remaining pieces visual to the eye that haven’t changed. In 2005, a very expensive renovation was begun, with the owners wanting to bring back the facade of the original home. After a complete inside/outside renovation of the main house, and an exterior renovation of the carriage house, the home recently sold for $1.7 Million with Edina Realty, and photos of the home are still available via a virtual tour. The home has over 7000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, and for one simple word, is stunning.

Updating the Stories I Tell for St Paul Historic Homes

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Minneapolis and St Paul have thousands of historic homes. As a real estate agent who’s speciality is marketing historic homes, I jump at the chance to explore any of the old houses. My readers know that I write a showcase piece for one historic home a week, trying to give as much information I can about the house and it’s history. Sometimes, though, the history changes and updates occur. I love nothing more than to hear a historic home is being renovated back to it’s original splendor.

Well, a couple weeks ago I received an email from the new owner of 295 Summit Avenue, a home I showcased back in January. She happened upon my blog and saw my article about the history of this home, and wanted to update me on what is going on. As I reported in January, the home was in the process of being converted into condo units. Thankfully, she was able to purchase the home and stop that process, and instead, opting to bring the home back to single family. I was invited over to tour the home, and see for myself all the wonderful renovations occurring. Yes, it was like a kid entering a candy store, filled with “ohs” and “ahs”.

Pictured above, it is easy to tell that the exterior looks much better than in January. The porch renovation has been finished, and the owner plans on fixing the porch flooring tile, which has winter heaved at some point, causing damage. The entry foyer is astounding, completely covered in paneling, and the two parlors, central stairway, and hallway have beautiful wood paneling and carvings made of oak, cherry, maple, and more. Once everything is stained/painted, the woodwork will be stunning.

The original wood floors are still present, most likely preserved by the thick carpet that the Society of Friends installed 30-some years ago when they owned the property. While most of the original fixtures are missing, a few have been saved and converted from gas to electric. One feature that is prevalent with mansions on Summit is the enormous third story attic. The new owner put that as her top priority and has completely transformed this area into a beautiful penthouse. It is currently for sale at a list price of $767,700 with Coldwell Banker Burnet. Check out the fun turret area via a virtual tour.

It will most likely take at least a year for the owner to complete the renovation. When it is, I cannot wait for another tour. As a renovator of historic homes myself, I know the aggravation and final joy that a project of this magnitude will bring. As an agent with personal experience in the area, I know the benefit this home is bringing to the neighborhood with its new historic completion.

If you have a historic home that I have showcased, and have additional information that will benefit the post, or see some incorrect information, please do not hesitate to contact me. While some people might not want to offend by pointing out a mistake, I would rather know the real story. I cannot keep up with changes unless you let me know.

If you would like to have your home showcased on my blog, I would love to talk with you and tour your home. Historic homes are my passion and I love to keep their history alive by writing about them for the public to enjoy.

Queen Anne Victorian in St Paul

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

This weeks showcase home is 513 Summit Avenue.

This gem of a Queen Anne Victorian was built in 1887 for W.W. Bishop, a local real estate agent. At a cost of $10,000, it was constructed by Wirth and Haas.

It is one of the only wood-frame houses standing on Summit and has a well preserved polygonal tower. The full facade porch has thankfully not been closed in. The current owners have painted the home in well matched colors, bringing out the architectural details in the woodwork. A photo of the home in 1973 shows the home without the details highlighted.

Around 1920 is was occupied as Mrs. Charles Porterfield’s Boarding House and frequented by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Today it is once again a single family residence, with the last recorded sale in 1994 for $626,000. It has approximately 8300 square feet and 4-5 bedrooms.