Archive for the ‘Queen Anne Victorian’ Category

Victorians in Pensacola

Friday, October 15th, 2010

We recently traveled back to Pensacola to visit friends and family, having lived in Pensacola for three years not too long ago. One thing I loved about the area was the numerous Victorian homes still standing in downtown, and in the surrounding historic districts.

The most notable difference in Queen Anne historic homes in Pensacola from those in Minnesota, is the front double porch. I love this style, and took some photos while I was walking the neighborhood so my readers could see what I am talking about. Not only do you get a covered area to enjoy the day, the views from the upper porch are fantastic.

You’ll also notice the floor-to-ceiling windows, roughly the same height as the doors. This was done so people could open the window and walk out onto the porch from their rooms. The reason they chose windows, instead of additional doors, is because at the time, homes were taxed based on the number of doors they had entering a home. By making the openings into large windows, they avoided the tax!

Brick and Stone House on Summit Avenue

Thursday, June 24th, 2010
332 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota

Built in 1889 by Edgar Long, the home was designed by the Cass Gilbert and James Taylor (who also built together the home next door, 322-324 Summit Avenue). At the time, this amazing home was built for only $30,000. It is reported that Mr. Long was the in the lumber business, as were many of the wealthy home owners on Summit, and the general manager of the Railway Supply Company.

Amazingly, not much has changed with this home. While many homes in the area have lost their porches, or had additions put on the home, this home has only had a few minor changes. The coach port, as seen in this photo, has been enclosed and now houses the kitchen on the main floor, with a sun room on the second level (addition). For the grand homes on this side of Summit, the kitchens were originally located in the basement, with food delivered via dumb-waiters. It was believed that the smell of food would cause appetites to sour, so all food was prepared below the home. The new kitchen, since placed in the once porte cochere, has the exterior wall of the home as an interior wall, letting you see the grand door arches that were once entrances into the home from a carriage.

The rear of the home has seen some changes, namely to the porch stairs, as well as the missing railing on the top balcony, and the third story breeze way has been enclosed with glass. You can see how the home looked in 1890 from this photo.

At about 7600 square feet, the home is very large, with seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a third story game room. One of the draw backs would be the one car garage underneath the kitchen, but many of these homes lack adequate garage stalls. The saving grace is that the garage is a drive through into the back yard, offering further private parking if needed. When these mansions were built, carriage houses existed to the rear of the home, but most of these are long gone. At 332 Summit, the ruins of the original carriage house are still present.

The home recently sold in 2006 for $1,499,000.

Summit Avenue Queen Anne in Saint Paul

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

265 Summit Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Built in 1885 for $10,000, the home was designed by C.W. Mould for John Robertson. Designed as a simple Queen Anne Victorian, it has a brick exterior and limestone foundation. You cannot see it from my photo, but there is a tower on the right side of the home. The top of the tower was closed in at the time of this photograph, but at one time was an open balcony with spectacular views of Summit Avenue and the surrounding homes. I believe the last time I drove by the home it appeared the new owners had opened the area once again.

With about 5500 square feet, the home has three stories, and if you know anything about the third stories of these historic homes, then you know they have amazing ceiling heights. The home has only had about five owners during its long life, and the last owners have been stewards for over 40 years. There are original Tiffany light fixtures in the home, as well as the original woodwork and trim. The best room in the home is probably the oval dining room with curved built in buffets. Take a look at the “Fire, Wind, Water” stain glassed windows located at the grand staircase.

I had to opportunity to view the home for a client a while back when the home was listed for sale. It is a very beautiful home, in need of many updates and remodeling. I am sure the new owners will have a wonderful time restoring the home to its former splendor.

Irvine Park Brick Beauty in Saint Paul

Monday, March 29th, 2010

59 Irvine Park, Saint Paul, MN

This beautiful home on Irvine Park was built in 1889 by architect Emil Ulrici for the family of Dr. Justus Ohage. Sadly, just weeks after it was finished, Mrs. Ohage died, and Mr. Ohage was left to raise his five children on his own.

Mr. Ohage was quite a busy man. In 1886, he preformed the first successful gall-bladder surgery. From 1899-1907 he was the first city Commissioner of Health, and in 1900, helped finance the purchase of Harriet Island, rip-rapping the banks and constructing bathhouses and swimming areas. After all was done, he donated it all to the City of Saint Paul.

The Queen Anne styled home itself is made of Kasota stone, limestone, and yellow brick. Some of its notable features include the four-story octagonal corner tower, the cast iron columned porte cochere, and the Richardson Romanesque arched windows. Sadly, in 1984, the original transom windows in the sitting room, dining room, and living room were stolen, so the current owner had them recreated from old photos.

I was able to find an older photo of the home taken in 1936. By comparing them, you can see how the painted white trim of today gives the home a totally different appearance. The details, to me, don’t stand out as much as they do in the 1936 photo, and some of the details have since been removed over the years. In this 1972 photo, the upper part of the tower is missing, but in 1979, as this photo shows, effort was under way to restore the home to what it once looked like, especially with the reconstruction of the tower, a task completed by a Great-nephew of Dr. Ohage.

The home was featured in the February 2007 issue of Midwest Home Magazine, as the current owners have gone to great lengths to further restore the home.

The Sauntry Mansion is Stillwater

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

626 N 4th St, Stillwater

This beautiful Queen Anne historic home in Stillwater was built in 1881 by William Sauntry, a local lumber baron. The Recreation Hall sitting directly behind the mansion, or Gymnasium as it was called back in the day, was built in 1902 in the Moorish style, and is now a separate residence. Both buildings are on the National Registry of Historic Places.

While not a pioneer of the lumber trade in Stillwater, William Sauntry learned his craft from the best, the Timber King Frederick Weyerhaeuser. Weyerhaeuser took Sauntry, who is related to Bing Crosby, under his wing where Sauntry flourished. Sauntry directed the Ann River Logging Company which cut most of the last logs in the St. Croix River Valley. When logging dried up, Sauntry put his money into mining on some lands he owned on the Mesabi range. Not knowing a thing about the mining business, he ended up losing what money he had earned from logging. On November 10, 1914, at the Ryan Hotel in Saint Paul, he committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver.

Sauntry Mansion in 1921, Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

Sauntry Mansion in 1921, Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

The Suantry Mansion is now run as a very successful Bed and Breakfast by the current owners, who purchased the home about ten years ago.

Inside the gymnasium in 1919

Inside the gymnasium in 1919, Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

A Simple Victorian Being Restored

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

I have driven by this house quite often in Saint Paul over the last year. It was a multi-unit building up for sale, and being a Realtor, I have watched its progress on the market. Finally, in April, the home sold at a very cheap price. It has always been my suspicion that the original siding was still on the home.

Yesterday I drove by the home to find an exciting site. The new owners are in the process of restoring this simple, but soon to be beautiful Victorian. I love it when the original trim work and decoration lays hidden because it gives the restorer the design template often destroyed as historic homes fall into neglect. It also quite often offers clues on the original porch design, as you can tell by color variations on the wood where the porch roof line fell. Below is a photo of what they have uncovered for decorative trim.

Hopefully within the next year, we will see a final product, and another old home thankfully saved!

Romantic Victorian in Dayton’s Bluff

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
732 Margaret Street, Saint Paul

Built in 1891 by Hermann Kretz, a well known architect in the area, the home was designed for the Henry Defiel family. Mr. Defiel owned the People’s Ice Company, obtaining ice in the winter from Lake Minnetonka and White Bear Lake.

The architectural detail in this Queen Anne Victorian is unique since the exterior is constructed of brick. The masonry touches, as seen in the oval windows on the front of the home, give the home a slightly romantic feel. The home has roughly 4000 square feet and is located in Dayton’s Bluff.

Blue Queen Anne in Saint Paul

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

431 Ashland Ave, Saint Paul

Built in 1890 by Ole Ask, this beautiful home is one of my favorites on Ashland. I am not sure if it is the perfect shade of blue that does it for me, or the white gingerbread trim around the house, but the home just stands out on its street. Amazingly, according to Larry Millett, the home was originally built at 825 Dayton Ave, and was moved to this location in 1977.
Here is a photo of the house that use to stand at 431 Ashland Ave.

Row Houses – Woodlawn Terrace

Thursday, April 17th, 2008
This weeks feature is not of a home, but of a historic building called Woodland Terrace in St. Paul.

Located on Dayton Avenue, the row house was built in 1889, supposedly by B.J. Buechner. They were renovated in the 1980s and updated with new mechanicals, etc. The building really is amazing once you get a closer look. The patterned brickwork and small stone carvings throughout, including the arched entry ways, really make the building “pop”. At first glance, the buildings look Richardson Romanesque because of the stone work, but when you look at the gables, balcony design, windows, and roof line, Queen Anne Victorian screams out at you.

There is currently one unit for sale through Coldwell Banker for $645,000. To give you an idea on size, the four level unit has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and around 2700 square feet. Many people compare these units to those found in New England Brownstone row houses.

Masonry Queen Anne on Summit Avenue

Thursday, February 21st, 2008
This weeks featured Historic Home in St Paul is 749 Summit Avenue.


Built in 1888 by the famous Clarence Johnston and in collaboration with William Willcox, the home was commissioned by The Wheeler Family and cost around $12,000 to build.

At first glance, you might think the home was built in the Richardson Romanesque style, mostly impart to the rough cut stone on the exterior walls. However it lacks any of the arches that define that style. Instead, it fits rightly into the a Queen Anne Victorian “masonry” category. The tower on the left has been built into the home and does not rise higher than the third story ridge line.
The home has been wonderfully restored to its former beauty. The wood work alone inside is something that could never be duplicated today without great cost to the home owner. At approximately 6500 square feet, the home has six bedroom, 5 baths, and a detached two-car garage.
This past June, the home sold for $1.475 Million. Hard to believe a home would sell for that much and not have air conditioning. But many of these old homes still do not have the luxury as the cost to install, without disrupting the historical integrity of the home, is extremely high.