St Paul Historic Home 9

This weeks showcase Historic Home is 344 Summit Avenue.

In 1886 a large stone house was built on this site and had a beautiful corner tower. However, when the property was sold to Watson Davidson in 1914, the home was torn down to make way for what currently stands here today.

In its place, the Davidsons built in the Beaux Arts style, a Tudor manor house. What is known about the home is Thomas Holyoke designed it at a cost of $40,000. Holyoke had been a draftsman for the famous Cass Gilbert and was urged to learn the style on his own. The home has about 20,000 square feet, four floors, and a beautiful facade. It has been occupied by the School of the Associated Arts since 1961. It took me a few minutes to get the photo due to so many students coming and going.

Beaux Arts comes from the architectural school of the French, the Ecole des Beaux Arts. The style is much “easier” to build in Europe as they have the countryside and means to produce the hard, stone structures, but here in America, the construction material can be very expensive and if not done right, can look like a gaudy castle. In this case, Holyoke was able to include elements that keep with the tradition, but tweaked it to fit the American lifestyle. It still has basic details of a Tudor manor house with the multi-pane windows, window hoods, the grand entrance arch, and the typical Tudor chimneys. But looking on the design, you can see it is quite simple and not overdone, fitting very nicely on the Avenue along with the other Victorians and Romanesque homes.

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