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RAMSEY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

 WEST SEVENTH
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Researching your house's history? Learn more by about your house and your neighborhood's history by visiting the Ramsey County Historical Society Research Center, which is open Monday through Thursday between 10:00am and 4:00pm. 
Please call  651-222-0701 or email
Research@rchs.com for more information.

 Share your photos of the  Daytons Bluff neighborhood by uploading photos to Ramsey County Historical Society's  neighborhood Flickr photo groups at http://www.flickr.com/groups/daytonsbluffneighborhood/

The Dayton's Bluff  neighborhood profile featured here is taken from the Ramsey County Historic Site Survey Report.
 

 
District 9: West Seventh Street

Planning District 9, the West Seventh Street area, is located west of downtown St. Paul, bounded by Interstate 3SE on the west, the proposed 3SE Pleasant Avenue freeway corridor on the north, Kellogg Boulevard and the Wabasha Street Bridge on the east, and the Mississippi River on the south. The district is comprised of residential neighborhoods arranged around West Seventh Street or Fort Road, the street's original name. It is also a major commercial artery running at an angle bisecting the district. A considerable amount of industry is concentrated along the Mississippi River in the neighborhood's southern portion.

The West Seventh Street area was one of the first in St. Paul to be settled. During the 1830's, a handful of former fur traders, discharged soldiers from Fort Snelling, and early pioneers built cabins along the wooded banks of the Mississippi River south of present day West Seventh Street. A boat landing was established near the present day Chestnut Street and by the 1840's had become a bustling steamboat docking area called the Upper Landing. Eventually Fort Road was built between the Upper Landing and Fort Snelling, and a residential and commercial neighborhood developed. A focal point of the Uppertown neighborhood was the two acre Irvine Park area, a fashionable residential cluster platted in 1849. Development of other residential portions of District 9 occurred during the 1850's through 1890's as immigrant groups were attracted to the West Seventh Street area by several large industries including at least six breweries built along the river bluffs, foundries, factories, and the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Railroad shops.

Commercial development in District 9 began in the 1840's and the 1850's at the intersection of Fort Road, West Fourth, Eagle, and Main Streets. It became an important business district called Seven Corners. The business climate of the neighborhood was enhanced in 1872 when horse-drawn streetcar tracks were laid along Fort Road west to Ann Street. The line was extended to Tuscarora in 1881, electrified in 1890, and continued to the Fort Snelling Bridge in 1891.

The Irvine Park neighborhood became a National Register Historic District in 1973 and a St. Paul Heritage Preservation District in 1982. It contains the city's largest concentration of pre-Civil War houses, including fine examples of the Greek Revival, Federal, Second Empire, and Italianate styles. With the exception of the northwestern corner of the planning district, which was settled somewhat later, and the Irvine Park area, the remainder of the West Seventh Street neighborhood contains modest frame and brick houses built by German, Irish, Polish, Bohemian, and Italian immigrant working class families. These buildings are some of St. Paul's most architecturally and historically significant working class housing. They date from as early as the 1850's and 1860's when solid limestone workers' cottages such as the Martin Weber House at 202 McBoal and the Anthony Waldman House at 445 N. Smith were built, as well as many small one and II story woodframe houses, some with dog-eared and segmental arched window and door moldings. The Historic Sites Survey identified a number of houses situated unusually on lots , indicating rather haphazard development , houses doubled up on lots, and houses which stand today above or below the present street grade. There are also several wood frame barns and other out-buildings.

District 9 also contains a tremendous concentration of larger brick and wood frame houses dating from the 1870's through the turn of the century. Many have intact open porches. These houses represent the Italianate, Queen Anne, Eastlake, and Colonial Revival and other styles. Many good examples of Italianate, Eastlake and Queen Anne row houses and double houses dating from the 1880's through circa 1900 also stand in the district. In addition, the West Seventh Street area contains a few excellent Prairie style houses, the most important of which are the John Lauer House at 449 S. Arbor Street and Prairie School architect Charles Hausler's own house at 526 W. Grace Street.

Several churches and other religious, cultural, and social institutions, most having ethnic origins, and many of which are located in residential areas. These institutions include the Polish and Bohemian Catholic St. Stanislaus Church at circa 137 N. Western Avenue, the Protestant Cyril Czecho-Slovak Congregational Church at 275 Erie Street, row used as a house, and the Czecho-Slovak Protection Society, whose headquarters at 381 S. Michigan Street have been listed as a National Register and Heritage Preservation Commission site. Immigrants in the community founded the German Presbyterian Bethlehem Church on Ramsey Street, located technically in Planning District 17 but linked historically to the West Seventh Street neighborhood. St. Francis de Sales Church, the Central Church of Christ (now Sharon Seventh Day Adventist Church), and the Goodrich Avenue Presbyterian Church (now Apostolic Faith Temple) are other important neighborhood churches.

Although Seven Corners itself has been obliterated by street rerouting and redevelopment (the Excel Center marks the approximate site of the intersection), some of the Victorian commercial buildings which were constructed further west on West Seventh Street as the business district expanded are still standing. The most intact of these buildings include the Rochat-Louise-Sauerwein Block at 261-277 W. Seventh Street, a National Register and Heritage Preservation Commission site, Ayd Hall at 1033 W. Seventh Street, and the Otto W. Rohland Block at 455-459 W. Seventh Street. Other commercial buildings of significance include the Day by Day Cafe Building at 477 W. Seventh Street, the Machovec Building at 999 W. Seventh Street, Elisabeth's Parlor at 329 W. Seventh Street, and the buildings at 211-219 W. Seventh Street and 449 W. Seventh Street.

The Historic Sites Survey identified a large number of houses and industrial buildings linked historically to the breweries, including the North Mississippi Brewery (William and Frederick Banholzer Houses at 680 Stewart Avenue (no. 24) and 681 Butternut), the Melchoir Funk Company (Melchoir Funk House at 398 Duke Street), and Christopher Stahlmann's Cave Brewery which later became Schmidt Brewery (Christopher Stahlmann,Sr. House, Christopher Stahlmann, Jr. House, George Mitsch, Sr. House, Stahlmann Brewery Stables, and the Schmidt Brewery complex).  Other early industrial buildings surveyed included the remnants of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Shops (now G.O.A. Corporation) on Randolph Avenue, the Henry Orme Iron and Brass Foundry on Armstrong Avenue, the H.B. Fuller Adhesives Company on Chestnut Street, the Northern States Power High Bridge and Island Power Plants on Shepard Road, and the Farmers' Union Grain Terminal Association elevators on Shepard Road. The West Seventh Street area is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods and it contains some of St. Paul's most historically and architecturally significant buildings. Unfortunately, many of these buildings have been demolished or insensitively altered through urban renewal efforts and because of new development. Many more have suffered through neglect. In recent years, however, there has been a major effort by neighborhood residents to recognize the area's history and preserve significant buildings. 

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Our Mission
"The Ramsey County Historical Society inspires current and future generations to learn from
and value their history by engaging in a diverse program of presenting, publishing and preserving." 

The place for St. Paul & Ramsey County, Minnesota history.
Ramsey County Historical Society programs include a research center, St. Paul & Ramsey County MN history magazine, 
historical exhibits, historic site attraction the Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life.

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RAMSEY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
323 Landmark Center, 75 West Fifth Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102    
Phone: (651) 222-0701, Fax: (651) 223-8539

info@rchs.com
Copyright 2012

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