Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

The Schneider Tavern in Frontenac

Saturday, September 16th, 2017
The Schneider Tavern at 28971 Wood Avenue, Frontenac, MN

28971 Wood Avenue, Frontenac

Built in 1862 by Engelbert Haller and Kasper Koch, this lovely Greek Revival building was originally built to operate as a general store and served as the township’s stagecoach stop; however, two years after completion it was sold to Jacob Schneider who used it as a tavern and hotel. The tavern and store were located on the main floor (now the living room and office), with simple accommodations to rent upstairs. A separate entrance on the side of the home was used so guests could access the rented rooms and store without passing through the tavern, and is the reason why the main staircase is located behind the front rooms and not at the front of the home (like residential homes of the era). The Schneider Tavern was in operation until 1887 when it was sold to the son of Evert Westervelt.

Evert Westervelt arrived to the area from Pennsylvania in 1852 and is the founder of the small town of Frontenac, originally named Westervelt. Having opened a local limestone quarry of dolomite shortly after his arrival (which supplied all the local limestone foundations, walls, and tombstones), he purchased a total of 320 acres of land as the site of his new town and began the process of plotting streets and lots to sell to future settlers. In 1859, the town was renamed Frontenac in honor of Louis de Buade de Frontenac, governor general of Canada between 1670-1698. (Minnesota did not become a state until 1858).

The home stayed in the Westervelt family until it was purchased in 1982 by a couple who began the restoration process and opened the home as a bed and breakfast. In 1999, the current owner purchased the home, and over a decade, restored and updated the home further, including the restoration of the front porch. Using old photos, the owner was able to recreate the original design and trim detail.

Photo of the home pre-bay window on the side of the home.

Old photos of historic homes are extremely useful for restoration efforts and determining what architectural elements were original or added in later decades. For instance, the Schneider Tavern, was not originally built with a bay window on the southern side of the home, to the left of the porch. It was added later, sometime after 1891, when Westervelt purchased the home and used it as a private residence (we can surmise that the above photo was taken after 1891 simply because that was the year the American company of Anchor Post and Fence bought the patent rights to the chain link fence from a United Kingdom company and began production in the United States). From what I have read in a book about Frontenac, there is a question on whether the Moorish attic windows were added later, but looking at old photos and the design of the home, it appears they are original to the structure. Other questions have been asked about the decorative gable trim (if it was added by more recent owners), but again, old photos show the gable trim and porch brackets date to at least pre-1887.

Schneider Tavern pre-rear porch enclosure, but after bay window addition

This home is currently “pending” for sale. Additional information, photos, and an interactive 3-D tour can be viewed at the property website.

 

Original limestone horse hitching post that was quarried from Westervelt's local limestone quarry.
Original limestone stagecoach steps that were quarried from Westervelt's local limestone quarry.
An original small horse barn on the property
Up close photo of the Moorish attic windows and decorative gable trim.

The Judson Bishop House in St. Paul

Saturday, August 19th, 2017
193 Mackubin Street, St. Paul, MN

193 Mackubin Street, St. Paul

Judson Bishop

Judson Bishop

Built in 1882, this grand home was commissioned by Judson Wade Bishop of the Second Minnesota Regiment and designed by architect Abraham M. Radcliffe. Featuring a limestone and Kasota stone foundation, the French Second Empire styled home is easily recognized by its mansard roof and sits on close to a half-acre of land.

Born in Evansville, New York in 1831, Bishop was the son and grandson of Baptist ministers. He studied civil engineering and worked as a draftsman in Ontario before moving to Chatfield, Minnesota in 1857.  While residing in Chatfield, he worked as a railroad surveyor and served as the principal and teacher of Chatfield Academy. He helped form the 2nd Minnesota Regiment during the Civil War, being the first man to muster in and the last man to muster out. He is remembered for his courageous military actions during the war and in particular for leading his troops into battle up Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1863. A painting depicting this famous historic scene hangs in the Governor’s Reception room at the state capital (Bishop is depicted as the soldier waving his hat). He was promoted rapidly during the war, and received a brevet promotion to brigadier general in March 1865.

The Second Minnesota at Missionary Ridge, 1906

Bishop returned to his job after the war moving from Chatfield to Le Sueur, to Mankato, and then finally to St. Paul when he was promoted to U.S. Deputy Surveyor in 1866. He also served as the general manager for the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad from 1871-1883. Bishop is well known in Minnesota history, especially for his published works about the Civil War (The Story of a Regiment, 1890and his time with the railroad in Minnesota (History of the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad, 1905).

Bishop married his first wife Ellen Husted in 1866, having four sons together before her death in 1878. A few years later he purchased land west of the Cathedral and built this beautiful home. His next wife Mary Axtell,whom he married in 1884, bore him five more daughters. The house served as the Bishop family residence until his death in 1917.

Detail in a Fireplace

Over the next 65 years, the home passed through a succession of owners, being broken up into no less than 18 sleeping rooms. When the present owners purchased the home in 1982, it was in terrible disrepair. The front porch had been removed, the roof leaked, the siding was rotting, and it had suffered from vandalism and attempted theft of the interior woodwork. It took the owners over 5 years to restore the home back to its original grandeur.

Interestingly, Bishop’s youngest daughter, Middy, visited the home and current owners before her death (1992 at 90 years old). She told them wonderful stories about the home, including how her father was always worried the Christmas tree candles would start a fire, and that F. Scott Fitzgerald came to her birthday party once and was quite rude.

 

The Wadsworth Williams Tudor Revival Home in Minneapolis

Monday, June 19th, 2017
Wadsworth Williams Home in Minneapolis

1314 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis

Designed by architect William Kenyon for Wadsworth and Ida Williams in 1931, the home has known only three owners durings its life. Mr. Williams was born in 1875 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moving to Minnesota in the late 1890’s to attend Carleton College in Northfield, graduating in 1900. At the time, Carleton College did not offer specific degrees, thus Wadsworth graduated with a study in Classics. (He later served on Carleton’s Board of Trustees from 1937-1959, and in the early 1960’s his widow, Mrs. Ida Bourne Williams, made a gift to Carleton for the creation of a Chair in Economics as a “perpetual memory” to her husband – the Wadsworth A. Williams Professor of Economics.) Fifteen years after graduation, at the onset of World War I, Williams was a working as a clerk for the banking and investment firm Wells & Dickey Company. Decades later he had worked his way up to become Vice President of the company. According to a descendant of the family, the “home was built during the depression to create jobs for people who could both learn and build a beautiful, highly crafted home to lift everyone’s spirits at a time of great struggle”.

1314 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis MN Bargeboard Decoration

Decorative Bargeboard

What they created was a fantastic example of the Tudor Revival style in stone, stucco, and half-timbered design and clearly showcases the excellent craftsmanship of the era. Original exterior architectural details abound, adding a story book element to the home: medieval styled arched entry door, copper gutters with fine details of acorns and hearts, decorative bargeboards, ornamental gables, and leaded glass casement windows. It is the perfect home for a historical minded buyer who appreciates the fine details this home has to offer.

The home is currently For Sale and additional photos of the home can be viewed at the property website.

Here are some photos of the decorative features of the home, inside and out:

The John Hutchinson House in Faribault

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
Historic Hutchinson House in Faribault

305 2nd Street NW, Faribault

Sitting high on a lot amongst some of the oldest and most prestigious homes in Faribault is a lovely Queen Anne Victorian home that was built in 1892 for John Hutchinson, a prominent and successful businessman in the area. This “Painted Lady” features a unique three-story octagonal tower and an ornate porch which wraps around the front façade. Many of the original interior architectural elements survive such as pocket doors, gingerbread trim, inlaid hardwood floors, two elaborate fireplaces, and a beautiful decorative staircase (an amazing achievement for a home that at one time in its history was a boarding house and whose floorplan has been slightly altered over the years). The home was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1982 and is currently operating as the Historic Hutchinson House Bed and Breakfast.

Hutchinson was born in Montreal, Canada in 1840, immigrating to the United States with his parents in 1851. Eight years later, he settled in Rice County and worked with his father in farming, as well as a contractor and builder. In 1862, he enlisted with the 6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, serving first in the US-Dakota War of 1862, and then moving south a few years later to fight in the Civil War. After mustering out in 1865, he returned to Minnesota to begin a career in the saw-milling and lumber industries. It was in 1885, after a stint as manager for the Flynt Furniture Company, he founded the Faribault Furniture Company, in partnership with Albert Stockton. The company became the leading manufacturer of furniture in the region. Not one to dabble in only one trade, he also partnered the Faribault Roller Mills and Faribault Loan and Insurance Company.

Times were hard for Hutchinson when it came to family, losing his first wife in 1876, and his second wife just a few years after moving into the Queen Anne home. He married his third wife in 1902. In 1915, he moved to California with his wife and youngest child, passing away in November of that year at the ripe old age of 75. His prominent home still survives though, and stands as a testament to the prestige and beauty of a bygone era in Faribault, Minnesota.

This historic property is currently listed For Sale, with additional information available at the property website . The B&B business is also for sale separately. Make sure to view the 3-D Interactive Home Tour, too.

The E. S. Hoyt House in Red Wing

Saturday, February 11th, 2017
300 Hill Street Red Wing E. S. Hoyt House

300 Hill Street, Red Wing

Known as one of Minnesota’s best examples of the Prairie School style, as well as one of the finest designed by its architects, William Purcell and George Elmslie, this modern home for the time was the talk of the town when construction was completed in 1913. Built for Elmore S. Hoyt, then President of the Red Wing Union Stoneware Company, the home was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1975. The house remained in the Hoyt family until 1976, and has only had two other owners in its long history.

300 Hill Street Fireplace mosaic glass tile

Close up of the fireplace glass mosaic

Hoyt was born in Kansas, arriving in Red Wing in 1881 at the age of eighteen years. He began working as a salesman with the Minnesota Stoneware Company and eventually married a local veterinarian’s daughter, Florence McCart, in 1888. In 1893, Hoyt was named general manager of the company. He later helped engineer the merger of the Minnesota Stoneware Company and the Red Wing Union Stoneware Company in the early 1900s, becoming it’s president. The company eventually became Red Wing Pottery, a name that still resonates with collectors and enthusiasts today.

Well positioned on its lot, the Elmore Sherman Hoyt House stands as a testament of the modern movement that still resonates today. Sections of the second floor cantilever over the main floor with many of the brackets featuring fret-sawn ornamental panels of botanical and geometric details designed by Elmslie. The exterior rose-colored stucco was specifically chosen by the architects to pair with the Oriental brick brought in from Brazil, Indiana. A decorative screen, befitting the architectural style, was added in 1915 by the architects to the passageway leading from the house to the garden shed and garage.

Three panel art glass pocket door into living room

One of the standout features of the Hoyt House is the 99 diamond-patterned art glass windows arranged in long bands around the home, and inside too. Designed by Elmslie, who had an artistic specialty for ornamental motifs, the windows consist of pale, opalescent colors and clear glass to allow as much natural sunlight into the home as possible. The living room, dominated by windows, features a massive art glass pocket door, as well as a built-in bench and wood burning fireplace. The decorative mosaic panel above the fireplace, designed by Edward L. Sharretts of Mosaic Arts Shops in Minneapolis, is made of ultramarine, green, and black opal glass and porcelain with antique dull gold leaf fired on, and depicts a moonlit scene with clouds and trees. In the dining room, two grand built-in buffets with art glass flank the entry into the pantry, where the original telephone room has been converted to a half bath. The kitchen is the only room that has had extensive updates over the years, and features a set of cabinets that were originally used in the living room as bookcases.

 

The E. S. Hoyt House has been featured in the following books:

Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes
At Home on the Prairie: the Houses of Purcell and Elmslie
Historic Homes of Minnesota
A Face of Red Wing

UPDATE: SOLD  It is also currently For Sale. Make sure to view the 3-D interactive home tour!

The W. W. Mayo House

Monday, January 30th, 2017
Mayo House in Le Sueur Minnesota

118 N. Main Street, Le Sueur

Located in the small town of Le Sueur, Minnesota is a very small house that drivers could easily travel by without knowing it’s historical significance. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, as well as a Minnesota historical site, this Gothic style home was hand-built in 1859 by Dr. William Worrell Mayo.

Dr. Mayo arrived in the United States in 1845 from England, settling in New York where he worked as a pharmacist. He then moved to Layfayette, Indiana where he earned his medical degree in 1850 from the Indiana Medical College. (He earned a second medical degree in 1854 from the University of Missouri.) After living in Indiana for a time, he found his way to Minnesota after being plagued by malaria outbreaks. He eventually settled in Le Sueur after serving as the first county commissioner of St. Louis County. Having built the home himself, he lived here with his family, setting up his first medical practice in a room upstairs.  It was in 1864 that he moved his family to the town of Rochester, Minnesota where he served as the examining surgeon for the Minnesota Civil War draft board. It was with his two sons, William and Charles, that St. Mary’s hospital was created, known today as the Mayo Clinic.

Mayo House circa 1936

As for the small little house in Le Sueur, it wasn’t finished housing future nationally known individuals. Carson Cosgrove and his family moved into the home in 1874, with three generations living there through the 1920s. In 1903, Cosgrove conducted the organizational meeting for the Minnesota Valley Canning Company, later serving as the head of the company. We know this company today as the Green Giant Company.

From this angle you can see the unique Gothic window awnings with large decorative brackets, circa 1957.

Fun Fact: The door to his home office is five feet seven inches in height – forcing his taller patients to stoop, but just what the doctor needed for his own five-foot-four-inch frame.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the Mayo family, please visit the Mayo Clinic History and Heritage site.

The Charles Schwartz Stone House and Barn

Sunday, September 4th, 2016
Charles Schwartz Stone House and Barn

38448 Exchange Street Rd, Ottawa Township

Nestled down a quiet country lane just north of Ottawa Township sits a picturesque property along the eastern bluff of the Minnesota River. Christened “Bur Oaks” by the current owners who have owned the property for 40 years, the eighty acres of land features a bur oak savanna, pasture land, and restored natural prairies. Not to be outdone by the beautiful landscape, the true highlight of the property is the restored stone house and barn. Both are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and were built circa 1875-1877 from limestone quarried onsite by stone mason Charles Schwartz.

Schwartz was born in 1830 in Buedingen, Germany, immigrating to America around 1833 with his parents and older brother. The family first settled in Pennsylvania and after a few years moved to Missouri. It was from here that Charles enlisted at the age of 16 in the Mexican War serving from 1846-1848. Shortly after the Treaty of Traverse de Sioux was signed in 1851, which provided settlement rights to much of southern Minnesota, Charles made a move to Le Sueur County with his family where he took advantage of a land grant of 160 acres given to him by the government for his military service. In the beginning, the home and out buildings were made of log, but Schwartz being a stone mason, took advantage of the natural limestone found in the ground and constructed the house and barn that still stand 140 years later. The property has remnants of the beehive lime kilns that he used to fire limestone for the production of mortar. It is said that his kilns provided the mortar for all the stone buildings constructed in Ottawa.

1903 photo of the Schwartz family in front of home

1903 photo of the Schwartz family in front of home

An interesting historical note exists for this property, discovered by the current owner in his extensive research about its history. In the journal of French-born explorer and geographer Joseph Nicollet, who chronicled his 1830’s travels in the Minnesota region, he noted the location of “White Rock” as a landmark on the Minnesota River. The sandstone and limestone bluff easily stood out along the river and was the site of exchanges between French traders, missionaries and the native Sioux (who called it Myah Skah). In his research he found the location of White Rock was apparently well-known locally, referenced on old land maps, and mentioned by a geologist from the Minnesota Geological Survey as being located “on the farm of Charles Schwartz”. Today natural erosion and vegetation somewhat hide the location of White Rock but the current owner believes its location is very likely the exact spot where a small cabin on the property is located today.

This historic property is currently listed for sale, with additional information available at the property website 38448ExchangeStreetRd.com.

Charles Schwartz Stone House and Barn
The restored house as seen today. The original entry ways have been turned into windows and moved to the western side of the home, to fit with the new historically sensitive addition added in 1988.
1903 photo of the Schwartz family in front of home
The family sitting outside the home in 1903, shortly after Charles Schwartz passed away.
Charles Schwartz and family
 
Some of the split rail fence is from the time that Charles Schwartz lived on the property.
 
 
Backside of the stone barn restored by current owners.
The stone barn has been completely restored and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Bur oak savannah, pastures, and restored prairies are highlights of the property.
The Minnesota River flows along the western boundary of the property.

Church of the Advent in Farmington

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Church of the Advent, Farmington, MN

412 Oak Street, Farmington, MN

There is nothing more lovely than a cute little church in a small town, especially one with red doors. Built in 1872, this church’s building style was suggested to the congregation by Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple, and constructed according to plans found in Richard Upjohn’s 1852 book titled Upjohn’s Rural Architecture. The episcopal parish had been formed only the year before, and owing to the rural location and small congregation, the building was designed as a smaller version of  the All Saints Church in Northfield, Minnesota, that was constructed six years prior by Bishop Whipple.

Historic Church of the Advent in Farmington

The exterior is a simple version of the Gothic Revival style, also know as Carpenter Gothic, and clad in board and batten vertical siding. The small detail of  trefoil window on the front, as well as the small belfry, (not to mention the bright red doors), really make this church stand out. Three Gothic style stained-glass lancet windows line each side of the church, two of them being original to 1872 . The inside is much like it was 143 years ago, with its scissor-beam rafter construction and beautiful wood walls. The pews are original, also designed according to Upjohn’s book with small trefoil details at the end of each pew. The sanctuary was originally heated by a small iron stove, and illuminated by kerosene oil wall lamps. When I toured the church, my guide informed me that the bell, the first ever in Farmington, was made in the same foundry as the Liberty Bell.

Interior Sanctuary Church of the Advent

Beginning in the mid-1920s and lasting into the 1930s, church attendance began to decline, partly due to the closing of the railroad yards and families moving away. Episcopal services were eventually haulted, but the church building was still maintained by some of the original families. It was also rented out by lutherans who later formed the Farmington Lutheran Church.

Over time, different parts of the building have been restored, and additions were added in the 1970’s to accommodate the growing needs of the parish. In 1979, the original building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places. Today, it is a shining beacon of preservation in the small town of Farmington, and an example that even the smallest buildings deserve to remain among us.

Altar of Church of the Advent. Note the original kerosene oil lamp on the wall to the left of the altar.
The original Gothic chancel window was replaced by this round stained glass window in 1916.  It was given in memory of Dr. TenBroeck, who had died in 1913 after 51 years in the priesthood.
 
 
 
Rafter detail with scissor-beam construction.
Many of the original kerosene oil lamp brackets are still attached to their original location.

Historic Walking Tour of Edina’s Country Club District set for May 7th, 2016

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

CCWT 2016Join the Country Club Neighbors for Preservation for the 2nd-Annual Historic Neighborhood Walking Tour on Saturday, May 7 for a stoll through the history and architecture of the Country Club District in Edina. Begin at Wooddale Park Pavilion, 4500 W. 50th Street, Edina for check in at 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. tour. Ticket fee of $10 payable by cash or check, advance registration at ccnfp@outlook.com.

Six original Country Club homes on Arden and Bruce Avenues will be featured, as well as the Baird Farmhouse, the Victorian era styled home of Sarah and George Baird, whose farmland was sold to help create Minnesota’s first planned community. This 1886 built home is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The featured homes on the tour represent a variety of architectural styles of the period, including English Cottage, Italian Renaissance, Mediterranean, and Bungalow. Most homes were built between 1924-1944.

The William W. Smith House

Thursday, September 24th, 2015
Historic William W. Smith House

101 Linden Street SW, Sleepy Eye

When Major William Watkins Smith came to Sleepy Eye with his wife, Ada, they purchased property on the southwest corner of Linden Street and First Avenue South to build their new home. Finished in 1901 and built by the Steinke-Seidl Lumber Company, this two and half story clapboard-sheathed home combines both Queen Anne Victorian and Classical Revival (also known as NeoClassical) architectural elements, and is a masterpiece in design.

William was one of Sleepy’ Eye’s earliest bankers. Born in 1857 as the youngest of five children, he was raised on his family’s 600 acre farm in Oakfield,Wisconsin and graduated from Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1881. After spending a year working at a bank in South Dakota, he moved to Sleepy Eye in 1882. At that time, the town was only 10 years old when Smith and his partner Clarence D. Griffith opened the Merchants Bank.  Over time, the two men earned a great reputation with local farmers and businessmen, and in 1902 converted their bank to the First National Bank of Sleepy Eye. Smith served as the bank’s cashier for over 50 years, never wanting any other title, and was also involved with the Board of Education and the Republican party.

WilliamW Smith

No corners were cut or expense spared when the house was built, with artisans, that were crafting local churches at the same time, utilized to obtain stain glass and exotic woods.  Two beautiful leaded glass doors open into the expansive foyer with 10 foot high ceilings, gas fireplace, and ornate woodwork. The formal parlor connects to a sitting room with a large bay window and three sets of pocket doors. It is easy to imagine how elegant dinner parties must have been in this home’s dining room being surrounded by a fireplace, built-in China cabinet, and crystal chandelier. As an extra architectural detail, each of the formal rooms feature a different inlaid floor pattern. The original library, with built-in book shelves, fireplace, and Steuben light fixture serves today as an office and reading room.

101 Linden St SW, Sleepy Eye

The grand staircase still retains an original Tiffany newel post fixture as well as three beautiful stained glass windows at the first landing. The second floor features a master suite, three guest rooms, and three full baths. Varying wood species are used throughout the home including quarter-sawn red oak and American chestnut. Additional historic elements include working servant’s call box, transom windows, and many original light fixtures. A servant’s staircase leads to the finished third floor, currently serving as the owner’s suite with living room, office, bedroom, walk-in closet, and bath.

The Carriage House was used to store the Smith carriages and the horses. Horses were boarded in what is now the Box Stall bedroom on the first floor. It is reported that Smith owned the first automobile in Sleepy Eye and shortly after, the Carriage House was converted to a garage. In the late 1990’s the Carriage House was converted to guest rooms, now featuring a bedroom and living room/dining room space on the first floor, and a spacious bedroom suite with 2-person whirlpool tub on the second floor.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the home is much the same as when it was first built, with a few exceptions, and an amazing restoration. Currently operating as the W.W. Smith Inn the home is For Sale with additional information at the property website.