St Paul Historic Home #13 - A Coffin on the Roof?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Kirby Fine Homes

This weeks Historic Home is 465 Summit Avenue in Saint Paul, MN

Built in 1886 and for a cost of $18,400, this home was designed for William Constans, a French-born grocer. From one book I read, he ran the largest wholesale firm for hops, malts, and brewer's supplies in the Northwest and the only one in St Paul. The business later evolved into the Schmidt Brewing Company.

You might be looking at the home and wondering "What style is this?". Well it was originally designed by A.F. Gauger as a Queen Anne Victorian mansion. Take a look at this photo taken in 1890. You can just see a five-story tower on the southeast corner of the home and a spindle trimmed porch, classic designs of a Queen Anne. Sometime later, the porch and tower were removed and replaced by Colonial style moldings and decoration. For some reason, people liked to change the facade of the Victorian homes, most likely to give the home some extra character to set it apart from other Queen Annes on the Avenue. A carriage house was also constructed directly behind the house.

The home has approximately 7300 square feet and 9 -10 bedrooms and currently single family residential. I came across a rumor that one owner of the home ran a funeral business in which his wife refused to let him advertise. His solution was to add a casket looking decoration to the top of the home. Take a look and see what you think....kinda looks like a casket to me!

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Ambassador
1,294,817
Silvia Dukes PA, REALTOR
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living
My gosh, the rumor may be right. Looks like a deluxe model though doesn't it?
Jun 20, 2007 05:28 PM #1
Rainmaker
336,214
Dena Stevens
Century 21 Canon Land & Investment - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004
It could be a layer of wedding cake too, but the coffin is a better story.
Jun 20, 2007 08:43 PM #2
Rainmaker
605,309
Teri Eckholm
REMAX Specialists - White Bear Lake, MN
Acreage & Lakeshore REALTOR Minneapolis St Paul
Jennifer--This is one of my favorite Summit Avenue mansions...never noticed the coffin before.
Jun 20, 2007 08:50 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,488,066
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Authentic Feng Shui Expert
Jennifer, it DOES look like a casket.  I'm glad it was for decorating purposes only.  Dena is right, it could resemble a wedding cake which means our cakes look like coffins.  Something useful to watch out for any people getting married out there :)
Jun 21, 2007 08:37 AM #4
Rainmaker
133,730
Jennifer Kirby
Kirby Fine Homes - Minneapolis, MN
The Luxury Agent

Silvia - sitting on top of this house, it has to be the super duper delux model to stand all the weather!

Dena - I guess you could see it that way, but I still think it looks like a fancy coffin.

Jun 21, 2007 10:04 AM #5
Rainmaker
133,730
Jennifer Kirby
Kirby Fine Homes - Minneapolis, MN
The Luxury Agent

Teri- I never really saw it as a coffin till I did some research on the home online and came up with the story about the owner being in the morturary business. Pretty cool to sneak it into the design that way.

Carole - LOL, marriage = coffin, who would have thought!

Jun 21, 2007 10:07 AM #6
Rainer
67,262
David Helm
Helm Home Inspections - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp
Maybe it is an occupied coffing.  Now that would be weird.  Have you heard anything about ghosts haunting the house?
Jun 21, 2007 11:23 AM #7
Rainmaker
605,794
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
You do such a great job of giving the history of the owners as well as the home - what it cost, who it was built for. That adds good flavor to your posts.
Jun 21, 2007 07:55 PM #8
Rainmaker
133,730
Jennifer Kirby
Kirby Fine Homes - Minneapolis, MN
The Luxury Agent

David - No, there are no ghosts in the house, that I know of.

Sharon - Thanks Sharon. Sometimes homes are more interesting than others so I try to bring a special detail into the post. Next week I will be doing a post about Summit Avenue, where all these homes are located, and why it is so important to the city of St Paul.

Jun 21, 2007 09:54 PM #9
Anonymous
Anonymous
BRIAN TALBOTT
READ THIS IS HOME WALTER HILL{,JAMES YOUNGEST SON}OCCUPIED MANY YEARS LATER AND  REMOVED FRONT PORCH AND FIVE- STORY  TOWER AS SEEN IN 1890 PHOTO  AND ADDED GEORGIAN MOLDINGS. RMODELED AGAIN IN 1968-69
Jan 20, 2008 02:25 PM #10
Rainmaker
133,730
Jennifer Kirby
Kirby Fine Homes - Minneapolis, MN
The Luxury Agent
Hi Brian - thanks for  the info! I have also seen this last year the current owners have been fixing up the outside of the home.
Jan 21, 2008 03:37 PM #11
Anonymous
Anonymous
BRIAN TALBOTT
THANKS JENNIFER. TRYING TO HUNT DOWN PHOTOS OF INSIDE 260 SUMMIT. UNABLE TO FIND. WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD HELP,THANKS,BRIAN
Jan 22, 2008 03:03 PM #12
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
SORRY FOR MULTIPLE LEAVE
Jan 22, 2008 03:04 PM #13
Rainer
40,775
Carolyn Gjerde-Tu-Davis
Lyon Real Estate - Davis, CA
Ca Real Estate

I like the contrast with the black and white photo  to what it looks like today.  It is interesting how buildings change over time.

Jan 23, 2008 08:44 PM #14
Rainmaker
133,730
Jennifer Kirby
Kirby Fine Homes - Minneapolis, MN
The Luxury Agent

Brian- unfortunately my searches have not turned up any new interior photos of  260 Summit since the renovation. Hometime aired a show on PBS about the renovation which I have seen, but I looked up the broadcast and it doesn't looked to be re-aired anytime soon. Sorry I cannot be of any help. But you can find photos of the home at the turn of the century at the Minnesota Historical Society website.

Carolyn - it's amazing how people changed the style of their home . You just don't see that happen much today.

Jan 24, 2008 09:18 AM #15
Anonymous
Anonymous
BRIAN
OK JENNIFER,THANKS FOR INFO. HOPING TO ATTEND THE SUMMIT AVE. TOUR OF HOMES IN SEPT.
Jan 27, 2008 07:15 PM #16
Rainmaker
133,730
Jennifer Kirby
Kirby Fine Homes - Minneapolis, MN
The Luxury Agent
Brian - I try to attend every tour as well. It is a great oppotunity to see the architectural details of interior design in these old homes.
Jan 28, 2008 03:52 PM #17
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Jennifer Kirby

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