Archive for the ‘Double House’ Category

The Day – Lewis House in Hastings

Friday, April 12th, 2019
200-202 E 7th Street, Hastings

At the corner of 7th and Sibley in Hastings sits a piece of local history that has a mysterious beginning. The Day-Lewis House reportedly dates back to around 1860 when it was built in a simple Greek Revival – Farmhouse Vernacular style. The fact that the home remains in a mostly unaltered exterior state is phenomenal, especially with its 6-over-6 double hung windows.

Benjamin Day hailed from the state of Maine, relocating to Hastings in 1856 and opening up a carpentry shop downtown. Though he purchased the lot the home sits on that same year, he never built a home there, but instead sold the lot to William Lewis in 1857. One would think that the home was then built on the lot, since historians believe the home was constructed around 1860, but records show no home was present until at least after 1867 (see map below).

1867 Bird’s Eye View Map of Hastings showing a vacant lot

Records show that the Lewis family also purchased the lot behind the home in 1867, thus giving the impression that he was preparing to build on the land. Knowing local history, it could be reasoned that no building happened on the land earlier due to the financial crises of 1857-1859, and then the beginning of the Civil War. It could then be guessed that the home arrived shortly thereafter 1867, either built as-is or being moved from another location in Hastings or the defunct settlement of Nininger (Nininger suffered greatly during the financial crisis and was largely abandoned by 1867). OR…the historians have the date of construction wrong and it actually was built circa 1868.

Having reviewed the pages of the original abstract, no mortgage was taken out on the lot by Lewis (which would indicate a home stood there), and according to an article about a previous owner, it was discovered that the house had no footings about 20 years ago when he decided to jack the house and install a basement. The only thing holding up the home was dirt, or a small stone foundation. If only more records existed to tell us how this home came to be! So for now, the home is keeping its original origin and year of construction a mystery…but we can still at least appreciate its will to survive.

An older photo of the home

As for William Lewis, he lived in the home with his family until his death in 1872 and it remained in the family until 1887. It has gone back and forth as a duplex or single family home, and is currently For Sale.

More photos of the home can be viewed HERE

The Leedom Sharp House in St. Paul

Monday, January 15th, 2018

20-22 N. Kent, St. Paul

If you were a senior railroad employee in the late 1800’s, this home could have been the place your family resided while you traveled for work. Designed by Cass Gilbert and James Knox Taylor and built in 1889 as a double house, the residence of 20 Kent was designed for Leedom Sharp.

Sharp was born in New York City Janurary 20, 1860 to Benjamin Sharp and Hannah Leedom. His grandfather, John Sharp, immigrated from Yorkshire, England in 1815 and was a prominent merchant in Philadelphia, while his great-grandfather Leedom arrived in America much earlier and was a well known iron merchant in Philadelphia.

Leedom Sharp

In 1877, at the age of 17, he entered the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania and graduated three years later (he had to withdraw in 1879 before graduation due to his young age and graduate in 1880 when he would be allowed to enter the Bar at the age of 20). He went into practice, moving to St. Paul sometime in the 1880’s. While living here, he stumped for Benjamin Harrison’s presidential campaigns and found time to develop property in Ramsey Hill. (He commissioned Gilbert to also build rowhouses next door at the corner of Kent and Portland, known as Portland Terrace in 1888). He also found his wife and married in 1884. Discovering he had no taste for the law, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his uncle and brother and study medicine, moving back to Pennsylvania and earning his medical degree in 1895. He was raised a Quaker, and was also a Mason and Knight Templar.

As for the home he lived in for a few short years, the original main floor was divided into a living room and dining room and the living quarters were on the top two floors. There was a a double staircase (now converted to a single staircase) on the main floor, as well as a separate servant’s staircase. During the war, each floor became a separate apartment, but is now again a single family residence.

 

House in 1976