Minnesota History Quarterly

The James Hill House
Symbol of Status and Security

by Barbara Ann Caron
Summer 1997 (Volume 56, number 6, pages 234 - 249)

Romanesque on Summit: A Sampler

Even before ground was broken for the Hill mansion, six new Romanesque dwellings lined the nearby block. Some of them may still be seen, though slightly altered by later owners, on stately Summit Avenue. In 1883 St. Paul architect Clearence H. Johnston designed the Chauncey W. Griggs house at 476 Summit and the A. G. Foster house at 490, both located in the block between Mackubin and Arundel Streets, Griggs. who dealt in fuel and lumber, had done business with Hill since the early 1870s. Foster was Griggs's lumber partner.

A year later A. B. Stickney's home, designed by J. Walter Stevens, took shape at 288 Summit. Stickney was manager, superintendent, and evantually president of numerous railroads. His dwelling was razed in 1930 when neither home buyer nor suitable reuse could be found for it.

In 1886 architects Gilbert and Taylor designed a double house for law partners George B. Young and William H. Lightner at 322-324 Summit, near the intersection of Farrington Street. The next year saw the completion of two more Romanesque mansions. Amherst H. Wilder's, designed by Willcox-Johnston, stood at 226 Summit. Wilder, a merchant, also engaged in steamboat and stage transportation and eventually moved into railroads. His dwelling, which had replaced an earlier one on the spot, was razed in 1959, and the chancery office of the Archiocese of St. Paul now occupies the site at the intersetion of Summit and Selby Avenues. Horace P. Ruggs's home, designed by Hodgson-Stem, still stands at 251 Summit, just across the street from the Hill house. Businessman Rugg sold pumps as well as railway and plumbing supplies.

Source: Ernest R. Sandeen, St. Paul's Historic Summit Avenue