Posts Tagged ‘historic structures’

Medayto Cottage, also known as Spicer Castle

Thursday, September 27th, 2018
Spicer Castle on Green Lake

Medayto Cottage, Spicer, MN

Originally named Medayto Cottage, this grand home sitting on Green Lake in Spicer, Minnesota was built in circa 1895 by John M. Spicer.  To this day it is still owned by the family and, for the last 20 years, has been run as a Bed and Breakfast by his great-granddaughter under the name Spicer Castle. ( in Dakota “Medayto” translates to “Green Lake”)

John Mason Spicer was born 1841 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the son of a Swiss father and Irish mother, and the only boy in a household of nine children. In 1852 his family moved to Illinois where he later took a position as a clerk in a general merchandising firm. Eight years later he was transferred to St. Paul, Minnesota, but took up a position soon after with Ingersoll and Company. Looking to expand into Belle Plaine, he was offered a partnership with Ingersoll and became a manager of a new store in that area. While in Belle Plaine, he met his future wife, Frances Deming, and in 1871, moved to Willmar, and established a general merchandise and farm implement business with Andrew Larson.

As the local community grew, Spicer furthered his business ventures by organizing the Kandiyohi County Bank in 1879 with other investors (of which he was president of the bank until 1884) and also formed  the Central Land Company in 1882. It was in this same year that Spicer helped champion the idea of creating a railroad line through the county, connecting the region with Duluth and southwest Minnesota. The Lake Superior, Willmar, and Dakota Railroad Company was formed in 1883 with Spiced elected as its president. An astounding $1.25 Million was raised ($31 Million in today’s dollars) for construction of the new line. With James J. Hill’s support, the line from St. Cloud to Willmar was completed in 1886. Another line, from Willmar to Souix Falls was completed in 1888.

Having become a major land owner and developer in Kandiyohi County, Spicer built Medayto Farm on a large parcel of lakeshore  on the south side of Green Lake in 1885. Ten years later he built his summer home Medayto Cottage over looking the lake.

Medayto Cottage as originally built in the Queen Anne Victorian style

It was in the 1930’s that local fishermen began commonly identifying the home for locating fishing spots as Spicer’s Castle, and the name stuck. Now known as Spicer Castle, even though none of his seven children or grandchildren were allowed to call it a “castle”, the home was enlarged and redesigned in the Tudor Revival style in 1913 with the help of Minneapolis architect J. E. Mason. It sits on 5 acres of lakeshore and still has the original bee house, greenhouse, barn, and a small log cottage on the property, though all have been turned into private rooms for the bed and breakfast. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Below is a short video story of Spicer Castle with current owners, the grandson and granddaughter of John Spicer.

 

Here are some old photos of the home and property supplied by the Spicer family:

Medayto Cottage as originally designed in the Queen Anne Victorian style
Spicer's Castle shortly after renovation in 1913
Family sitting by the lagoon created on the property
View of beach with slide and boats
View of Medayto Farm

The Schillinger-Brings House in Saint Paul

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018
178 Goodrich Avenue Saint Paul MN

178 Goodrich Avenue, Saint Paul

This simple stone house with it’s hipped roof was built in 1859 by John Schillinger of locally quarried limestone. The home originally stood at 314 Smith (Oak) Street and was moved to its current location in 1989 to save it from demolition. It is one of the last remaining Pioneer era solid stone buildings in Saint Paul. The home is a great example of how early Minnesota homes mixed styles: the 6 over 6 double hung windows point to Greek Revival, while the hipped roof shows Italianate influence. The front porch was added circa 1890.

The house circa 1900 as it stood on Oak Street, later to be renamed Smith Street.

Schillinger and his wife were born in Weggis, Swizterland in 1823 and 1830, respectively, immigrating to America and settling in Saint Paul. He was a skilled stonemason and it is believed he built the home himself. In 1863, the home was sold to Joseph and Lucia Brings, recent immigrants from Germany, for $1300. Joseph worked as a cooper and operated out of his new home for a few years. Ever the entrepreneur, he expanded his business to include a saloon, grocery, and feed store. The Brings family raised 8 children in the home until they sold the home in 1873 and moved to the second story of their store on Fort Street, now known as West Seventh Street.

There is an excellent article about the history of this long standing Saint Paul family published by the Ramsey County Historical Society in 2015 which can be read here.

Church of the Advent in Farmington

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Church of the Advent, Farmington, MN

412 Oak Street, Farmington, MN

There is nothing more lovely than a cute little church in a small town, especially one with red doors. Built in 1872, this church’s building style was suggested to the congregation by Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple, and constructed according to plans found in Richard Upjohn’s 1852 book titled Upjohn’s Rural Architecture. The episcopal parish had been formed only the year before, and owing to the rural location and small congregation, the building was designed as a smaller version of  the All Saints Church in Northfield, Minnesota, that was constructed six years prior by Bishop Whipple.

Historic Church of the Advent in Farmington

The exterior is a simple version of the Gothic Revival style, also know as Carpenter Gothic, and clad in board and batten vertical siding. The small detail of  trefoil window on the front, as well as the small belfry, (not to mention the bright red doors), really make this church stand out. Three Gothic style stained-glass lancet windows line each side of the church, two of them being original to 1872 . The inside is much like it was 143 years ago, with its scissor-beam rafter construction and beautiful wood walls. The pews are original, also designed according to Upjohn’s book with small trefoil details at the end of each pew. The sanctuary was originally heated by a small iron stove, and illuminated by kerosene oil wall lamps. When I toured the church, my guide informed me that the bell, the first ever in Farmington, was made in the same foundry as the Liberty Bell.

Interior Sanctuary Church of the Advent

Beginning in the mid-1920s and lasting into the 1930s, church attendance began to decline, partly due to the closing of the railroad yards and families moving away. Episcopal services were eventually haulted, but the church building was still maintained by some of the original families. It was also rented out by lutherans who later formed the Farmington Lutheran Church.

Over time, different parts of the building have been restored, and additions were added in the 1970’s to accommodate the growing needs of the parish. In 1979, the original building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places. Today, it is a shining beacon of preservation in the small town of Farmington, and an example that even the smallest buildings deserve to remain among us.

Altar of Church of the Advent. Note the original kerosene oil lamp on the wall to the left of the altar.
The original Gothic chancel window was replaced by this round stained glass window in 1916.  It was given in memory of Dr. TenBroeck, who had died in 1913 after 51 years in the priesthood.
 
 
 
Rafter detail with scissor-beam construction.
Many of the original kerosene oil lamp brackets are still attached to their original location.

Historic Walking Tour of Edina’s Country Club District set for May 7th, 2016

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

CCWT 2016Join the Country Club Neighbors for Preservation for the 2nd-Annual Historic Neighborhood Walking Tour on Saturday, May 7 for a stoll through the history and architecture of the Country Club District in Edina. Begin at Wooddale Park Pavilion, 4500 W. 50th Street, Edina for check in at 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. tour. Ticket fee of $10 payable by cash or check, advance registration at ccnfp@outlook.com.

Six original Country Club homes on Arden and Bruce Avenues will be featured, as well as the Baird Farmhouse, the Victorian era styled home of Sarah and George Baird, whose farmland was sold to help create Minnesota’s first planned community. This 1886 built home is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The featured homes on the tour represent a variety of architectural styles of the period, including English Cottage, Italian Renaissance, Mediterranean, and Bungalow. Most homes were built between 1924-1944.

Round Barn in Red Wing

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014
Historic Round Barn Red Wing

Looking up into the rafters

The historic Round Barn property just outside of Redwing. I wrote a blog post about the property a few years ago when I was allowed to photograph the barn and grounds. The main house is new and currently run as a Bed and Breakfast.

Round Barn Redwing Minnesota

 

Preservation isn’t just for grand houses

Friday, October 19th, 2012
The log cabin pictured around 1900-10 from Lakeshore Weekly News
So many times when hearing about historic preservation, people immediately think of some Victorian home or historic commercial building that is in need of saving. Either the home or building has fallen into ruin, seen forclosure, been destroyed by fire, been condemed by a city, etc. If it isn’t saved, it will be lost forever. But people often forget that historic preservation has no face and anything deemed to be significant to a community might be in need of saving.
Case in point, a little log cabin in Wayzata (shown above). Lakeshore Weekly News, a newspaper covering the greater Lake Minnetonka area, wrote an article this month about this 100+ year old cabin on Bushaway Road that’s future is not too certain. Irene Stemmer of the Wayzata Heritage Preservation Board is looking to save the little structure, as the current property owner wants it removed. It’s amazing that the cabin has survived this long and not been destroyed by current or previous owners. Besides its age, another cool fact is that the logs of the cabin are made out of Tamarack trees that once flourished in the area, but now no longer exist.
Either originally a squatter’s cabin or trapper’s cabin, according to the article, the log structure is the “oldest house in Wayzata”, says Stemmer. She is looking to save the cabin, but money for restoration and moving fees are still needed in order to preserve a part of the city’s history.
If you would like to look into helping preserve this historic log cabin, please contact Irene Stemmer of the Wayzata Heritage Preservation Board at istemmer@msn.com.

The Northome Stone Arch

Friday, October 12th, 2012
Northome Stone Arch Deephaven MN
Northome Stone Arch, Deephaven, MN
In an area of Deephaven known mostly to locals is a stone arch rising out of the trees as you drive through a quite neighborhood. Built in 1906 by the german stonemason Florian Huber, the original double arch was the entrance to the “Cedarhurst” and “Pinecrest” estates. In 1925, the left arch was removed to make way for larger vehicles, and in 1939, was deeded to the city of Deephaven. While structures like this rarely survive, the dedication to restore the arch in 1986 has helped keep the history of the area alive for future generations.
“Cedarhurst” was built for Russell M Bennett in 1901 and was a two story classic revival home. It replaced the “Northome” mansion built for Charles Gibson which burned in 1894. “Pinecrest” was owned by Joseph E. Clifford. A photo taken in 1904 shows the shoreline of Northome with similar stone structures in a retaining wall.