Archive for the ‘Stillwater Historic Homes’ Category

The Maud Hill House

Sunday, July 21st, 2019
475 Portland Avenue, Saint Paul

This beautiful home was built in 1888, and while homes are usually recognized for the person who built them, 475 Portland is more famous for one of its residents. From the years 1933-1963, Mrs. Louis Hill, Sr., known to many simply as Maud, lived in the home and helped shape it into the masterpiece seen today.

Maud Van Cordlandt Taylor was born in Staten Island, NY in 1870 to a very wealthy family descended from early colonists. While living in Saint Paul with her family, she met Louis Hill, son of railroad tycoon James J. Hill, and married him in 1901. Over the next four years, she gave birth to four children, and spent time in their grand mansion on Summit Avenue and their farm in North Oaks. When she separated from her husband in 1934, she took up permanent residence at her “updated” Portland Avenue home.

Originally the front parlor

In her early tenure, Maud expanded her garden space by having the home next door torn down. The delicate wrought iron fencing that surrounds the property was purchased in New Orleans, with local craftsman replicating additional pieces to completely enclose the gardens. She also altered the home significantly by having the front entrance relocated to the side, and the western walls expanded by four-and-a half feet to make the living room acoustically perfect for the many concerts held there (in the attic, you can still see the original roofline and window frames). The tradition of holding concerts in the home continued when another owner hosted singers from the Minnesota Opera and other groups during the 1970s, including Carol Channing .

The home is reportedly haunted, so if you happen to visit this home and see a lovely lady sitting at the piano or standing at the back of the living room, you could be seeing Maud Hill. She has been witnessed by guests at several events over the years but is quick to leave once noticed.

William Sauntry Mansion

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019
626 4th Street North, Stillwater

This beautiful Queen Anne historic home in Stillwater was built in 1881 by William Sauntry, a local Stillwater lumber baron. The Recreation Hall sitting directly behind the mansion was built in 1902 in the Moorish style (now a separate residence) and was designed after Alhambra Palace in Spain. Both buildings are on the National Registry of Historic Places.

House and Recreation Hall circa 1906

Sauntry was christened in Ireland in 1845, the youngest of eight children, to a poor Catholic farm family. When his father died in 1848, the family was most likely suffering greatly due to the Great Potato Famine that lasted from 1845-1849. His mother immigrated the entire family to New Brunswick, Canada, and sometime in the mid 1850’s they immigrated again to America. It was in Stillwater that he learned the lumber business working as a young lumberjack and river driver.

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 first cousin 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. He was 69 years old.

It is estimated at the time of his greatest wealth, he was worth $2 Million. In today’s dollars that is equivalent to $53 Million!



The home now operates as a successful bed and breakfast and is For Sale

Impressive Queen Anne Historic Home in Stillwater

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

306 Olive St W, Stillwater, MN

Drive down Olive Street and you just can’t miss this huge Queen Anne historic home. Built in 1882, the home was owned by John O’Brien, a local lumber businessman. He added some expansive additions to the home in 1896 to house his large family of eight plus three additional servants. However a few years later, the family moved West as the lumber boom in Stillwater was starting to slow down.

Like many historic homes, this one too fell into despair as the years wore on, but in 1981 it was saved by a couple who converted the home into one of Stillwater’s first Bed and Breakfast establishments – The Rivertown Inn. In 1999, new owners made the B & B even grandeur with many restorations, including the exterior, thus preserving the home for decades to come.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home in Stillwater

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

I am sure there are plenty of people living in Minnesota that have no idea we have an architectural gem for sale in Stillwater, designed by none other than the infamous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

10121 83rd Street N, Stillwater, MN

Known as the Donald and Virginia Lovness estate in Stillwater, Minnesota, the home sits on 20 acres of lakefront, featuring a 2 bedroom home, as well as a small cottage. The home was completed around 1957 and was personally built by the Lovness family. They also had Mr. Wright design furniture and light fixtures, all included with the sale of the home. I have to say that the stone fireplaces in both buildings are absolutely stunning!

Built of Wisconsin dolomite stone and Fir wood, the home is now called the “Studio”, setting it apart from the 800 square foot “Cottage” (pictured above) just a few yards away that was completed in the late 1970’s. Wright also left plans for three additional cottages, which also are included with the sale of the home and await the new owner to finish.

Mr. Lovness died in 2001 and is survived by his wife, who sadly is selling her dream home. Being the original owner, she and her husband have meticulously maintained the home over the years, which shows as soon as you step onto the property. For all this tranquility, it won’t cost you much – the current list price is $2.4 Million, listed with Lakes Sotheby’s Realty.

If you would like more information on the home, or are an interested buyer, please feel free to contact me anytime!

View 360 of Studio Exterior

View 360 of Studio Interior

View 306 of Cottage Exterior

View 360 of Cottage Interior

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

Neoclassical Home in Stillwater

Friday, September 11th, 2009
1309 3rd Street S, Stillwater

Designed by Saint Paul architect Louis Lockwood, the home was constructed by Frank Linner for James and Susan Johnson in 1905. Neoclassical in design, the home has wonderful Corinthian porch columns, as well as Corinthian corner columns. Also standout features are the windows, with multi-pane upper sash and single pane lower sashes, including the Palladian window on the third story.

Historic Italianate Home in Stillwater

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

911 Sixth Ave S, Stillwater, MN

Known as the John Moodhe House, this fine representation of Italianate architecture was constructed somewhere between 1878 -1882 for the sum of $700. While brick construction is not common for local Italianate homes, the brick does allow for architectural details not found in wood sided homes. At the corners of the home are prominent quoins and under the windows are lentils. The arched windows, brick window crown, and low pitched roof are some other characteristics of the style. The only thing really missing are large decorative brackets under the eaves, but it looks like the home never had them.

The house was sold a year ago for $504,000. It has a little over 2700 square feet, three bedrooms, and three bathrooms.