The Schneider Tavern in Frontenac

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.

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