Germanic Cultural House on Summit Avenue

301 Summit Avenue, St. Paul
Built in 1905 by George Gardner at a price of $28,000 this Georgian Revival home was designed by Thomas Holyoke. Holyoke was the chief draftsman for the famous architect Cass Gilbert on the state capital building and also built five homes on Summit Avenue. Another home was originally built on this site in 1882 in the Queen Anne style, but it was moved around the corner to 107 Farrington in 1903.

The home has changed very little since construction. I was able to find a photo of the home as it appeared in 1948, before it became a German cultural center. The original owner, Mr. Gardner, lived in the house up until 1946 when the St. Paul Priory took possession. It wasn’t until 1966 when the current owners bought the home for $60,000 by selling bonds, and it became the Volksfest Kultur Haus. In 1990, the organization changed its name to the Germanic American Institute.

I have had the privilege of viewing the home during a past Historic House Tour and the home is amazing. There are two grand parlors on the main floor, each flanking a central staircase. The basement is fully utilized and a good place to socialize. German quotes and sayings abound throughout the house. Even though it is no longer used residentially, the Institute fits in nicely on Summit Avenue. There is even a carriage house in the back that looks like a small home, but has around 2000 square feet. If the property were to come up for sale, it would most likely fetch well over $1 Million.

4 Responses to “Germanic Cultural House on Summit Avenue”

  1. StPaulSnowman says:

    I certainly would never refer to Cass Gilbert as “infamous” unless you know something we don’t

  2. Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while! Glad to see you stop by.

    Oops, that was supposed to be corrected…meant to take the “in” out and forgot. Thanks for the correction…I am less than perfect!

  3. Betty Cowie says:

    Back in the ’60’s we donated a collection of horned furniture that my great grandfather, Ferdinand Willius brought over from Germany. I am wondering what happened to it. Do you have any record of it?

  4. Sue Schanno Dwallibee says:

    I was married on June 1,1974 and our reception was held there. My mother’s parents, John and Jeanette Reuskens , lived in the carriage house , with their daughters,in the back and worked for the Gardners. So it was very special for my mother, and myself to have had our wedding reception there. Very classy!

    Thank you

    Sue Schanno DWALLIBEE

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