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.
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.
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