Posts Tagged ‘historic home’

The Burton – Rosenmeier House in Little Falls

Monday, July 25th, 2016
606 SE 1st Street, Little Falls

606 SE 1st Street, Little Falls

The Burton/Rosenmeier House is a significant architecturally  example of the Classical Revival (or Neoclassical) style in Little Falls and for its associations with its first two inhabitants: The Barney Burton family and later the Rosenmeier family. The home was built in 1903 by Barney Burton, the design coming from a pattern book by George Barber, a prominent architect who sold his residential blueprints via mail order to customers across the nation.

Barney Burton was the seventh of eight children born to Isaac and Sarah Burton, Polish immigrants, who settled in Peoria, Illinois, before migrating to Wisconsin. At the age of eighteen he moved to St. Cloud where he went into the clothing business with his brother, Jacob. In 1886 they moved to Little Falls seeking a better location. As the Little Falls community prospered during the “timber boom” years, so did Barney Burton who had dissolved the partnership as his brother moved on to other independent endeavors. He made is living selling woolen clothing and accessories to lumberjacks, expanding his business gradually into Central and Northern Minnesota. He married Sara Deutsch, of Minneapolis, in 1894, and lost her through death at childbirth the following year. In 1898 Barney married a sister of Sara, Josephine Deutsch, a life-long relationship which bore three additional children. Barney Burton, prominent in Little Falls area business activities for more than 50 years, died of a heart attack in 1942. Josephine died in 1953 in Baltimore.

606 SE 1st Street, Little Falls Interior Detail

Interior Architectural Detail

Christian Rosenmeier rose to prominence in the county following his graduation from the U of M Law School, as president of his class, in 1906. Initially settling at Royalton, he established a law office and married Linda Bakken, a teacher associate from his first vocation. They had three children. Christian relocated to Little Falls about 1914, following his election as county attorney.

In 1920, he resigned this post to become a vice-president of the American National Bank of Little Falls and the newly-established American Savings and Trust Company. The following year he became president of both operations. Christian and Linda purchased the Burton house in 1921. In 1922 he was elected to be the state senator for the area. At the time of his death in 1932, he was chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. His work in the senate included authoring legislation creating the C.A. Lindbergh State Park at Little Falls, and the National Guard Camp at Fort Ripley. His law practice in Little Falls brought him into an association with his neighbors, Charles A. Weyerhaeuser and Richard D. Musser, who jointly managed the Pine Tree Lumber Company and its related companies.

Christian’s son, Gordon, followed in his father’s footsteps. Graduating from Stanford University in 1932, and having been admitted to the bar in California, returned to Minnesota and went into his father’s law office. In 1940, he was elected to the unexpired term of the late Senator Fred Miller of Little Falls. Gordon Rosenmeier enlisted in the U. S. Navy Air Force in 1942, serving on the USN Command Staff in the South Pacific. At the end of his tour of duty, in 1944, he filed for reelection to the Senate, in absentia, and won an easy victory. He served successive terms in the Minnesota Senate until 1971. During his three decades of service he authored a succession of major bills which have left a lasting impression on the affairs of all Minnesotans.

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.

 

Wood’s Hilltop Home on Lake Washington

Friday, August 28th, 2015
Wood's Hilltop Beach House

4414 Washington Blvd, Madison Lake

High up on a hill overlooking Lake Washington, not far from Mankato, Minnesota, a beautiful resort hotel called the Belvedere was opened to the public sometime between 1898 and 1900. It was built by Louis A. Linder, a well known businessman from Mankato. The summer hotel quickly became a vacation magnet and popular spot for honeymooners, with wealthy patrons coming from as far away as Chicago. It wasn’t an easy hotel to visit in the early 1900’s. Guests first arrived in the town of Mankato by train, after which they traveled by horse and buggy to Connors’ Farm, just across the lake from the hotel. The last leg of their trip was taken by ferry. One year in a bad storm the ferry sank, but the hotel patrons all survived. The ferry still sits on the bottom of this deep lake today.

Belvedere Hotel Lake Washington
It was on a honeymoon stay at the hotel that led William and Inez Wood to purchase the building in 1921 as their summer home. They had an idea to establish a beach resort at the bottom of the hill along the lake’s shoreline. With the help of their six children, Wood’s Beach became a spectacular beach resort and picnic grounds that attracted weekend visitors from over four counties for more than thirty years. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, the five Wood sons and their father constructed an amazing array of water attractions to please and entertain every member of the family: a very high slide, a lower slide, a water wheel, diving docks, rolling barrels, and rafts. It was a big operation that rented boats and canoes, and even bathing suits. Many people at that time did not own bathing suits, so they paid ten cents to rent a scratchy woolen one, changing in a special beach house on the shores of the lake. The Beach closed down in 1948 and pieces of the original property were slowly sold off. Today, the main house remains with 300 feet of shoreline and stunning views of the lake and sunsets.

The money earned from summer rentals paid for the college education of all six Wood’s children, all of them obtaining higher degrees and having very successful careers.

Wood's Hilltop ChildrenBelow is just a few snippets of their lives:

Delbert L. “Buck” Wood graduated from the St. Paul College of Law. He worked for the FBI for six years during which he headed up investigations of the Capone
Gang and other Mafia organizations. J. Edgar Hoover awarded him three commendations for his outstanding work in the Bureau.

Harland Goff Wood attained international fame in biochemical research. His revolutionary discovery early in his career in 1935 that not only plants, but also animals and humans utilize carbon dioxide for metabolic processes (“CO2 fixation”), resulted in him being nominated twice for the Nobel Prize. Harland also served on the President’s Scientific Advisory Commission under both Presidents Johnson and Nixon.

After graduating from Macalaster College in St. Paul, Louise Wood worked with the National Red Cross in Europe during World War II. Based in London, she directed the USO operations for the American Red Cross for the entire European Theater of Operations. For her efforts and accomplishments in the Red Cross, President Truman awarded her the Medal of Freedom.

Earl H. Wood was internationally celebrated in both cardiology and aerospace medicine. During WWII he was a key figure in the top-secret research at Mayo to develop an anti-gravity “G” suit, and perfected the centrifuge, as well as developed the “M-1” straining/ expiration maneuver to assist pilots in maintaining consciousness when pulling high G’s.

The home is currently For Sale with additional information at the property website.Used seasonally as a summer residence, the home is perfect for year round use or potential B&B, and needs updating. This historic property is looking for a preservation minded buyer who will restore the home and love it as much as the Wood’s family has for the last 94 years.

The Historic Thompson House in Barnesville

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Located in the small town of Barnesville on the western fringe of Minnesota, and just 30 miles from Fargo, lies a beautiful historic home on almost 5 acres of land. Built in 1903 for Peter and Hannah Thompson, the home was designed by the Hancock Brothers, one of North Dakota’s most prominent architectural firms. It is historically significant as the only surviving property in Barnesville associated with the Thompson family, commonly known as the “founders” of Barnesville, and is locally a rare example of the Classical Revival style (also known as Neoclassical), not to mention one of the last remaining homes designed by the Hancock Brothers in Minnesota. Remnants of the original carriage house foundation can still be found behind the home.

The Thompson House Barnesville, MN

361 2nd Street NE, Barnesville, MN

Peter E. Thompson was a mercantile store clerk for George Barnes in 1878, a businessman who opened the first grain collection center years before 7 miles outside of present day Barnesville. By 1880, Thompson owned the store and it quickly became the core of the settlement of Barnesville. As Barnesville grew, Peter Thompson emerged as a prominent leader. He served as the first postmaster from 1878 to 1885 and was elected the first justice in 1881. In 1889 he became the first Mayor and in 1891, Thompson was elected to the Minnesota legislature and served two terms. Needless to say, he made a lot of “firsts” for Barnesville.

Sadly, two years after moving into their new home, Peter died at the age of 52. Hannah lived at the home until her death in 1920. They had seven children and were known to be very generous, often taking employees or ministers and their families into their home. They also donated real estate for the first school, a local park, and two churches. Two of the Thompson boys owned the home following Hannah’s death, the last living there until 1975.

361 2nd Street NE Interior

Fireplace and Staircase

The current owners have been renovating the home and property for several years. Most of the first floor woodwork has been restored, a painstaking process of stripping, sanding, and re-staining the floors, decorative trim, doors, and elaborate staircase.  The original dumbwaiter is still present, and there is a small ladder in the attic leading to the widow’s walk. For the kid in all of us, the third story bedrooms feature small doors and windows leading to “secret passages” between each room.

The home is currently For Sale with additional information located at the property website.

In 1996, the home was added to the National Registry of Historic Places. The photos below are from the 1993 application and show how the home looked when it still had the second floor balustrade and roof widow’s walk balustrade. 

 
 
 

Ramsey Hill Folk Victorian – 537 Holly Avenue

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
537 Holly Avenue, Saint Paul, MN

537 Holly Avenue

Charles L. Johnston House

When Charles L. Johnston, Vice President of the D.S.B Johnston Land Company, was married in the fall of 1882, it is easy to imagine that this Folk Victorian home was a wedding gift to his new bride, Jennie. The house was completed less than a year later in 1883. The Johnston family remained in the home until 1896 when it was sold to Dr. George E. Routh, a local physician and surgeon.

The original transom windows are still present, as is a lovely tiled fireplace surround in the upstairs bedroom. Hidden behind the hallway closets is the original second staircase, no longer used, which descends to the kitchen. The original sleeping porch has been restored too!

Unique Historic Home Details – Nursery Rhyme Tile

Friday, March 6th, 2015

I haven’t come across them too often, but when I do, I always try and photograph the nursery rhyme tiles I find in historic homes. They seem to be in homes ranging across a huge span, from the 1890’s to the 1930’s (at least the ones pictured below). I have found them most commonly in fireplace surrounds, but also in children’s bathrooms. Of course I tell owners that they have something special and to preserve them in their natural place in the home. Ripping them out for some “new” trend borders on criminal (at least to a preservationist like me). No matter who seems them, the response is always the same…lot’s of ooh’s and aah’s from the adults, giggling like children at the site of these old nursery rhymes.

Nursery Rhyme Tile at New Victorian Bed and Breakfast

Bathroom Childrens Tile

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Great Sources for Hard to Find Replacement Pieces

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Princeton Historic Home DoorknobRenovating an older home has all kinds of challenges, but sometimes the hardest part is finding replacement pieces. Many times, homes have been stripped of their original light fixtures, stained glass windows, or hardware. Other times, time itself has deteriorated pieces beyond repair. The most aggravating part is trying to find historically accurate replacements that even the pros won’t know aren’t “real”.

Hardware

Hardware can be the most aggravating to find, but luckily there are some companies that still realize old homes need fixing too.

  • Window sashes: First of all, don’t replace your old windows! If you’re in need of some heavy cast iron sash weights, check out Architectural Iron. Missing sash pulleys or sash cords can be found at Smith Restoration Sash.
  • Butler Pantry doors: Door no longer swinging? If your looking for a replacement piece, you won’t find one at Home Depot. Instead, check out Bommer Industries double action spring pivot. Viola, problem solved!
  • Door knobs: Besides going to your local architectural salvage companies to find original door fixtures, you can also try online sites that specialize in reproduction hardware like Crown City Hardware or House of Antique Hardware, as well as look for original pieces on Etsy or Ebay.

Lighting

The most dramatic pieces of a historic home can be the lighting fixtures. Even the smallest can be inspiring. I love walking around auctions, antique stores, and architectural salvage companies to admire the beautiful chandeliers, sconces, and lights for sale. But you can find great fixtures online, too. Rejuvenation has a special “restored antiques” section where you can buy real vintage light fixtures. Some might be expensive, but if you want the real deal, be prepared to drop some cash. In your search, keep an open mind about replacements. While you may not be able to find an exact replica, there are many options available true to the period of your home.

 

The Donaldson House: A Look Into One of Minnesota’s Grand Homes

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

The Donaldson Mansion was selected last year to be featured in Larry Millet’s new book coming out in November, “Preserving Our Grand Homes: Minnesota’s Own”. It’s being published through the Minnesota Historical Society. Larry gave me a call asking if I knew of any extraordinary homes that might work for his book, and I said, “Well, yes, I think I have just the home you are looking for!”.  The owner was very excited and honored that his home was one of the few that made the cut list.

Larry and crew stopped by a month ago and filmed a short video of the home for the book release, and all I can say is that I wish it was longer!

Old Home Certified in Minnesota

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Old Home Certified Minnesota Historic Home AgentSeeking a Realtor® who knows vintage properties?

Jennifer Kirby, the premier go-to real estate agent in Minnesota specializing in historic homes now carries the Old Home Certified designation from the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota’s Cornerstone Academy educational program.

Of course, Jennifer already specializes in old homes and has helped many Minnesotans realize their dream of selling or buying a historic house. This special designation just further helps deliver key insights and information on Minnesota houses and architecture, old home resources, the history of neighborhood development, sustainability in older homes, historic district details and more. The Old Home Certified course is taught by a variety of experts in their respective fields, with two courses taught by Jennifer herself

While a designation is nice to have, proven sales in historic homes is more important. Concentrating on a niche market means Jennifer is able to concentrate her time on the historic home market in the Twin Cities, the surrounding Metro area, and towns throughout Minnesota. She is more than willing to travel to Greater Minnesota to help home owners sell their unique old home, or to help  a buyer not quite sure what to look for when purchasing a home 100+ years old.

Looking to sell or buy a historic home? 

Make your first and only call to Jennifer!

651-785-3400