Archive for the ‘Italian Villa’ Category

Daniel F Akin House in Farmington

Monday, January 6th, 2020
Daniel F. Akin House

19185 Akin Road, Farmington

This gorgeous yellow hued field stone house was built between 1856-1860 by Daniel F. Akin and is a fine example of the early Italian Villa style in Minnesota and could have been adapted from Andrew Jackson Downing 1850s architecture book. It’s quite large for a local farmhouse in a rural community and is beautifully built of local field stone with 24 inch think walls. Since 1885, its location has been used for local weather observations.

Akin was born in 1828 in New York and moved to Minnesota in 1856. A graduate of Yale University, Akin worked as a land surveyor until he transitioned into agriculture. Soon his interest turned to scientific farming, as new technologies were discovered. He served as president of the county agricultural society in the 1870s and was one of the first apple growers in Dakota County.  Akin also loved meteorology and climatology, conducting weather observations for the Army Signal Corps. When the National Weather Bureau was established in 1891, he continued documenting his observations with the bureau. After his death in 1909, his son and grandson continued the tradition with local observations. (His grandson reported weather results for 60 years!)

The Burwell House in Minnetonka

Monday, May 21st, 2018
The Burwell House in Minnetonka, MN

13209 Minnetonka Blvd, Minnetonka

Built in 1883, the Burwell House was constructed by Charles Henry Burwell for his growing family, second wife and four children. Mr. Burwell was the Manager of the Minnetonka Mills Company beginning in 1874 until the mill’s demise in 1886. The land was purchased from the mill at a cost of $1000, and the house was built from a design found in the Palliser’s American Cottage Home catalog (see below). It is said to have cost a mere $3260 to build.

While the home is said to be in the Italianate style, I really feel it is an “in-between” house. The home does not have any strong Italianate features like window hoods, bracketed eves, or low pitched gables. In my opinion, it is more a cross between an Italian Villa, which features a central tower, and the Victorian Folk style. The home was built at the very end of the Italian popularity, but in the middle of Folk period. It is not always easy to pin down a single style to Victorian era homes, but it is easy to see architectural influences in some of them. One part of the home not originally built in 1883, is the wrap around porch. Added on somewhere between 1989-1906, it is a good example of the Eastlake influence, with its elaborate spindles and woodwork.

Burwell House Tower

Additional Out Buildings

The cottage (upper left) was moved to the site in 1894 from the Minnetonka Mills site to house Mr. Burwell’s widowed mother. It is one of the original 15 cottages constructed to house mill workers. The summer kitchen (upper right) was added to the home in 1892.

The mill office (lower left) was Mr. Burwell’s office and was moved to the site in 1894. It now serves as the Minnetonka Historical Society building.The final photograph is of the original ice house (lower right).

The home is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is owned by the City of Minnetonka. Summer tours are available from June to August.

 

Italian Villa on Historic Summit Avenue

Monday, August 24th, 2009
271 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul

Built in 1882, this home was commissioned by Joshua Sanders, but not as seen. The original home, from my research, was a one and a half story home that cost $5000 to build. When Sanders sold the home in 1887, the new owner, Emerson Peet, added a $7000 addition, which is the current home we see today.

Ernest Sandeen describes this home as a Tuscan Villa. The term is not widely used today for most homes of this style are lumped into the Italianate or Second Empire architectural group. So for my blog, I’ll put it under Italian Villa. Maybe because the home is simple in its design is one of the reasons it is hard to define. Not too much has changed about the home over the century of its existence. If you look closely at this photo taken in 1888, you can see that the central tower has a third story window in the roof, which has since been removed. Also, the second story porch on the left side of the home has been enclosed.

The current owners have been in the home for some time and the home is currently zoned as apartments.

The Burwell House in Minnetonka – 13209 E. McGinty Rd, Minnetonka

Sunday, April 26th, 2009
The Burwell House in Minnetonka

13209 E. McGinty Rd, Minnetonka

Built in 1883, the Burwell House was constructed by Charles Henry Burwell for his growing family, second wife and four children. Mr. Burwell was the Manager of the Minnetonka Mills Company beginning in 1874 until the mills demise in 1886. The land was purchased from the mill at a cost of $1000, and the house was built from a design found in the Palliser’s American Cottage Home catalog, or so the story goes. It is said to have cost a mere $3260 to build.

While the home is said to be in the Italianate style, I really feel it is an “in-between” house. The home does not have any strong Italianate features like window hoods, bracketed eves, or low pitched gables. In my opinion, it is more a cross between an Italian Villa, which features a central tower, and the Victorian Folk style. The home was built at the very end of the Italian popularity, but in the middle of Folk period. It is not always easy to pin down a single style to Victorian homes, but it is easy to see architectural influences in some of them. One part of the home not originally built in 1883, is the wrap around porch. Added on somewhere between 1989-1906, it is a good example of the Eastlake influence, with its elaborate spindels and woodwork.

The cottage (upper left) was moved to the site in 1894 from the Minnetonka Mills site, to house Mr. Burwell’s widowed mother. It is one of the original 15 cottages constructed to housemill workers. The summer kitchen (upper right) was added to the home in 1892.

The mill office (lower left) was Mr. Burwell’s office and was moved to the site in 1894. It now serves as the Minnetonka Historical Society building.The final photograph is of the original ice house (lower right).

The site is open for tours during the summer months.