Posts Tagged ‘minnesota’

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 Anton Gag and Wanda Gag House in New Ulm

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

226 North Washington Street, New Ulm

This fascinating Queen Anne Victorian home was built in 1894 by Anton Gag as the beginning of what would become a large family of seven children with his second wife Lizzie. Anton was born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) in 1858, and was 14 years old when he immigrated to the United States with his parents, sister and brother-in-law, and older brother Joseph in 1873. His eldest sister had arrived three years earlier and was settled in Cottonwood Township, just outside of New Ulm. While his mother moved to live with her daughter, Anton lived with his brother in St. Paul until 1979 when he moved to New Ulm.

Details of the restored tower.

Known as an artist, Anton became the protege of August Schell, founder of Schell Brewery and leader of the Turnverein, the German fraternal organization that comprised of the who’s who of New Ulm. Apparently  he showed so much promise as an artist that Schell sent him to art school in Chicago and Milwaukee. He married his first wife in 1886, but sadly she passed away 13 months after the wedding, as did his infant daughter a month later. Anton was by this time a respected artist, having a photographic studio to earn income. He also painted landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. Living in an area with strong German-Bohemian immigrant influence, as well as daily influence of old customs, folk songs, and German, his art was greatly influenced by his Bohemian background. His painting, “Attack on New Ulm During the Sioux Outbreak” was painted in 1904 and hangs in the State Capitol in St. Paul.

Artistry and creativity ran in the family, especially in his eldest daughter Wanda. After graduating from New Ulm High in 1912, she went on to study art in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and New York. She eventually became a world-famous watercolor painter and print-maker after a stint in commercial art. Maybe you are familiar with her most famous book, Millions of Cats, written in 1928. It holds the title as the oldest American picture book still in print. Her youngest sister, Falvia, also became an author and illustrator of 8 children’s books and specialized in watercolor paintings. (To learn more about the family of artists, visit the local website)

As for the house, it was sold when Lizzie Gag died in 1918. It languished over the years and six owners until it was purchased by the Wanda Gag House Association in 1988. Over a period of 20 years, it was restored to it’s early 1900s appearance inside and out. Original stenciling in the dining room and parlor have been uncovered, and the exterior colors have been matched to the documented original colors. It was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1979, before restoration. Today it is an interpretive center and museum dedicated to the artistic legacy of the Gag family which the public can tour and visit.

The house in 1894 newly built.
The house in 1989 before restoration.
The house as seen today restored
Anton Gag
The Gag family children
“Attack on New Ulm During the Sioux Outbreak"

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.

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.

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.

 

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.