Archive for the ‘St Paul Historic Homes’ Category

Germanic Cultural House on Summit Avenue

Monday, January 31st, 2011

301 Summit Avenue, St. Paul
Built in 1905 by George Gardner at a price of $28,000 this Georgian Revival home was designed by Thomas Holyoke. Holyoke was the chief draftsman for the famous architect Cass Gilbert on the state capital building and also built five homes on Summit Avenue. Another home was originally built on this site in 1882 in the Queen Anne style, but it was moved around the corner to 107 Farrington in 1903.

The home has changed very little since construction. I was able to find a photo of the home as it appeared in 1948, before it became a German cultural center. The original owner, Mr. Gardner, lived in the house up until 1946 when the St. Paul Priory took possession. It wasn’t until 1966 when the current owners bought the home for $60,000 by selling bonds, and it became the Volksfest Kultur Haus. In 1990, the organization changed its name to the Germanic American Institute.

I have had the privilege of viewing the home during a past Historic House Tour and the home is amazing. There are two grand parlors on the main floor, each flanking a central staircase. The basement is fully utilized and a good place to socialize. German quotes and sayings abound throughout the house. Even though it is no longer used residentially, the Institute fits in nicely on Summit Avenue. There is even a carriage house in the back that looks like a small home, but has around 2000 square feet. If the property were to come up for sale, it would most likely fetch well over $1 Million.

Colonial Revival In Dayton’s Bluff – Saint Paul

Monday, November 1st, 2010

373 North Maple Street, Saint Paul

This beautiful Colonial Revival home was built in 1906 for Peter John by Buechner and Orth. Mr. John was a local shopkeeper and saloon merchant in the Dayton’s bluff area, later becoming a foreman at the Hamm’s Brewery. Louisa, his wife, was from the Hamm brewing family, her father being Theodore Hamm himself.

The home has beautiful architectural details, including the Ionic columns that support the wrap around porch and the limestone base. One of my favorite details is the basement arches with the original iron grating that looks like sun rays.

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.

Masonry Historic Home in Dayton’s Bluff

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

762 East 6th Street, Saint Paul

This interesting masonry home was built around 1889 by Andrew J. Hoban, a local stonemason. While it is quite easy to walk right by this home on 6th Street as there is nothing “grand” about it, careful inspection of the home will show some unique features. I have noted these in the photos which include the large limestone voussoir over the front windows, the long side brackets on one side of the home, and the brick oriel window on the west side. A home completely built of brick is also rare for the area, as many homes are more Victorian in design.

Second Empire turned Colonial Revival

Friday, January 8th, 2010
285 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN

In 1882, a two story Second Empire Home was built on this site by Henry Rice, a local congressman and US Senator. He owned the home until it was purchased by Fredrick Fogg in 1894. In 1899, Allen H. Stem was contracted by Mr. Fogg to remodel the existing home, and what emerged was a Colonial Revival design with a high-end twist. The remodel was so extensive that the home was deemed new construction even though some of the original foundation and footings remained.

The siding on the home seen in this photo taken in 1973 is not original to the home. But thankfully, since then, the owners have removed the aluminum siding and revealed/restored the original wood beneath. The home also has many architectural details worth noting. Doric fluted columns support the porch, with wreath molding details above. The front windows are very interesting as they are slightly curved, with transom windows above three others. The elaborate doorway on the second floor, as well as the main entrance, give the home an upscale feel of a typical Colonial Revival home.

Currently a single family home, the last recorded sale was in 2002 for $1.25 Million. With a little over 8000 square feet, the home has about 7 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms.

Italianate Historic Home in West Seventh Uppertown, Saint Paul

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

194 McBoal Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Built between 1877-1880, this Italianate home was chopped into apartments for most of its life until recent owners restored the home to single family. Known as the O’Brien-Diederich House, Patrick O’Brien and his wife Fannie were the original owners, with the Diederich family taking ownership sometime around 1889.

Born in 1841 in Ireland, the O’Brien family immigrated to the United States in 1843, and settled in Saint Paul in the 1850’s. Eventually, Patrick O’Brien worked his way up in the postal service to Assistant Postmaster of Saint Paul, appointed as such in 1875 by Frederick Driscoll (who built 266 Summit Avenue). He had six children with dress maker and wife, Frances (Fannie) Higgins O’Brien.

The current owners have done a fantastic job resorting the home to look as it might have originally. The detail and porch reconstruction, completed by Authentic Construction, is simply stunning.

The Minnesota Historical Society has a photo of the carriage step with the family name Diederich, the second owner of the home, taken in 1936.

318 Summit Avenue Sells Before Anyone Knows It

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Today, the historic home at 318 Summit Avenue in Saint Paul hit the MLS for $2.995 Million with Coldwell Banker , and with-in one hour it was pending. Three hours later it was listed as Sold at a price of $2.1 Million. Needless to say, a real estate deal was already completed before it went active on the market, the owner being a co-listing agent as well.

Below is a post I wrote about the history of this home, comprised of two other blog posts I wrote on my luxury real estate site.

This weeks showcase Historic Home is 318 Summit Ave in Saint Paul.

Built in 1893 by William H. Lightner for a sum of $24,000, the home was designed by the well known architect Cass Gilbert. Gilbert is credited with building a total of 8 homes on the Avenue. The home is a classic and simple representation of the Romanesque style, made famous by H.H. Richardson, in which the home is constructed of large, rough-cut stone. It is quite easy to recognize this architectural style on Summit Avenue in Saint Paul (approximately 12 homes were built between 1883-1893) as each of these home stands out from the common Queen Anne Victorian .

The current owners bought the home in June 2006 for $1,425,000 and are converting the home back to single family residential as it has been a multi-family home for a number of years. It sits on about a half an acre and boasts 7700 square feet, 6 bedrooms, and 8 bathrooms.

I was able to tour the home for one of its last showings with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) 2007 Showcase Home Tour. Wow, is the only word to describe the home. Not only did the contractors and owners do a superb job at putting the pieces back together from the apartment building it had been converted to years back, but the designers finished the package with their beautiful array of colors, furniture, and accessories.

The original woodwork and moldings are still intact. Finely carved drip molding accents the staircase railing and the library has window moldings carved with the crest and date the home was built. Original chandeliers hang from the ceilings and it appears the windows are the originals as well. One interesting note is that homes on Summit use to have the kitchens located in the basement, with service delivered via a dumbwaiter. Victorians use to believe that guests would lose their appetite if they smelled the food while it was cooking. So a new kitchen was located in the back of the home where the billiard room use to be.

As you can see from the photos, the home now has some additions that blend in well with the architecture. Two garages were successfully built at the back of the home, with a terrace overlooking the river valley below. Also, the back of the home houses two, three season porches for relaxation and entertainment. Wondering what the dirt basement and previous kitchen became? Well now a bierstein resides there with a bar and wine cellar, as well as a bedroom, bath, and small kitchen.

Strolling Down Holly Avenue

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Holly Avenue, Saint Paul