Every home has a story and each homeowner writes a new chapter.
Great Houses of Summit Avenue and the Hill District
by Karen Melvin
The Summit Hill House Tour was first held in 1972 to highlight the neighborhood as an excellent place to live and raise children. It provides visitors an opportunity to share in the rich heritage of this neighborhood. Proceeds from this year's tour will be used to finance neighborhood improvement projects.The Summit Hill neighborhood, among the oldest in St. Paul, MN, is one of a kind, located on a bluff overlooking a wide expanse of the Mississippi River Valley.
The area has a dynamic business district and nationally recognized Victorian houses dating back to the 19th century. St. Paul has led its rival twin Minneapolis as a transportation center for many decades-first with fur trade, followed by steamboats and railroads. The first residential development of the Hill District took place in the 1850's and 1860's, when many wealthy and prominent early railroad and lumber barons settled in the area. Many of these families continue to live in the neighborhood and are raising the next generation.
Sunday was a perfect weather day to take the tour and step into ten homes one usually just drives by and wonders what's inside. This tour is quite popular as it is only held every two years so lines were long.
But the majestic homes showcasing plank floors with patterned hardwoods and mosaic inlays, impressive foyers, magnificently carved staircases, leaded glass windows, cornices, columns, ornamental scrollwork, decorative wall panels and the list goes on and on was truly breathtaking. If only I was allowed to photograph the insides.
My husband and daughter are up on the porch waiting as I lagged behind taking pictures.
There were shuttle buses to take us from one house to another but sometimes it was easier just to walk rather than wait. Covering ten homes took us about five hours with some 5 miles of walking. Along the way we discovered more impressive looking homes
a fairy garden
a pear tree
and beautiful flowers.
A lovely way to spend a sunny September day.