The Architecture of Summit Avenue

By: Diy maven Oct 27, 2010

created at: 10/27/2010

A few weeks ago, MWT and I took a walking tour of one of our favorite streets in all of the Twin Cities (if not all the country): Summit Avenue. It is a street filled with history as well as the most stunning examples of residential architecture one can find in our part of the world. Here's a sampling of some of the homes you will see if you find yourself strolling along the avenue.

Pictured above is the Burbank Livingston Griggs house, which was built in the Italian Villa style in 1862 for a whopping $22,000. 

The Butler House was finished in 1914. Its style is considered to be in the Italian Renaissance, which is very similar to the Italian Villa style of our first stop. It is just one of the homes on the avenue that has a literary connection. Sinclair Lewis lived in it for a brief time in 1917.

created at: 10/27/2010

Built in 1913, this Prairie Style home was designed by architects Ellerbe Becket; their firm is still in existence today.

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Ah yes! The home of one of the most famous literary residents of Summit Avenue...F. Scott Fitzgerald. His family did, in fact, live in another home just north of Summit Avenue that has a plaque designating its connection with Scott, but this is the one people most associate with him. Perhaps it is because it was on its third floor he wrote This Side of Paradise, which launched his literary career.

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Our final stop isn't a home but a garden. Originally, a home did stand in the lot, but it was torn down in 1970. The land was eventually purchased, and the new owners wanted to put a swimming pool in the empty lot. Zoning officials scoffed at that, as you can imagine, so the avenue's 'secret garden' was born.

created at: 10/27/2010

For more information about Summit Avenue and to listen to/download a podcast of the walking tour, visit the Minnesota Historical Society

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Sara, me too! LOVE that style.


I am in love with the Ellerbe Becket house. Exactly my style!

Just chiming in: I'm sure every Twin Citian has their favorite Summit house, I'd love to see everyone else's!

As long as we're on a house-tours theme, here's one in my hood that I love:

PS - here's the street view of that secret garden (it really is secret!):

No worries. My husband probably wouldn't have gone for it anyway. :)

Stillwater is another of our most favorite places in MN. If my boo didn't work out in the western hinterlands we'd be living over there. 

I'd be happy to adopt; my wife would be disappointed with another marriage. :)

I've never lived on Summit, but my wife rented a place there for a few years. I've lived all over St. Paul's Merriam Park neighborhood, though. University of St. Thomas grad, and all.

Now I call lovely Stillwater, Minn., my home. It's nice to finally *own* a place, and of course, Curbly helps us make our house a home. :)


Mike, dude, you live on Summit Ave?? If so, would you like to adopt/marry me??

Ooh! My own backyard! I recognize every one of these houses.

This one was always one of my favorites:


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