By Samantha Grose, JP&CO: A residential construction firm dedicated to delivering a personalized home at a remarkable pace through an enjoyable process.
Some of the coolest, grandest houses in Minnesota will let you walk straight through their front doors to explore and ogle. In this week's blog posting, I’ve listed some of the best mansions in and around the Twin Cities that are worth visiting or at least perusing from the comfort of a weekend drive.
This beautiful stone mansion is nestled on Summit Ave in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood in St. Paul, and was built by railroad tycoon and self-proclaimed workaholic James J. Hill. The entrepreneur oversaw the entire design of the house with precision, resulting in many unique and fascinating details such as a plethora of elaborately carved woodwork and revolutionary-for-its-time technology such as electric lights, central heating, and a communication system. In a word, this house is very cool.
The Hill House is open year round Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 3:30 p.m. and reservations are recommended: 651-297-2555, http://mnhs.org/hillhouse
The historic Ramsey House (located near Irvine Park on Exchange Street in St. Paul) touts its place as “one of the nation's best preserved Victorian-era homes” that offers guests a glimpse into life in the 1870s. The house was originally built in 1868 by Alexander Ramsey, the man famous for being elected governor of the territory and governor of the state. Alexander’s wife, Anna, allegedly went on such an enormous furniture shopping spree in 1872 that she was able to “fill two boxcars” with her plunders. Partake in a one of the many interesting events hosted at the Ramsey House, including their History Happy Hour or the suggestive sounding Victorian Matchmaking. Visit http://mnhs.org/ramseyhouse for more info.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Minnesota Governor’s Residence, the state is hosting public tours throughout the summer. Although these tours require reservations and are competitive, tours of the home’s Grounds and Gardens are free, open to the public, and require no reservation. The Governor’s Residence was completed in 1912 for a St. Paul lumberman and lawyer named Horace Hills Irvine. The architectural style is said to represent a Beaux Arts interpretation of a traditional English Tudor Country Manor. The gardens feature brick walkways, a terrace, a fountain, and a sculpture that weighs 200 pounds that features two cupids and was fabricated in France in 1850 by the same foundry that cast the Statue of Liberty. For more information, visit http://www.admin.state.mn.us/govres/
If you or your family is looking for an excuse to head to Duluth this summer, this is it! This Jacobean Revival mansion sits and the shore of Lake Superior and boasts a huge estate (7.6 acres!), 39 rooms, and a great majority of the 1908 home’s original décor and furniture. Oh, and did I mention that you get to hear all about the life of Minnesota’s richest citizens and the murder and intrigue entailed? The Mansion is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm (with the first tour beginning at 9:30 and last tour beginning at 4).
Visit http://www.d.umn.edu/glen/ for more information.
Associate AIA, Allied ASID Designer for JP&CO.