Minnesota Historical Society

St. Paul’s Historic Summit Avenue

$ 19.95

A lively history of the best-preserved Victorian boulevard in America.

Well known as the most prestigious and beautiful street in the Twin Cities, Summit Avenue runs past the opulent mansion of railroad tycoon James J. Hill, an early home of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and several residences designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert. In its heyday the four-and-one-half-mile-long boulevard included 13 churches, 9 schools, and 440 residences, 373 of which survive.

St. Paul’s Historic Summit Avenue highlights the fascinating story of this boulevard, from its pre–Civil War origins, when the area was still considered wilderness, to its fashionable height at the turn of the century. Ernest R. Sandeen discusses the preservation of Summit Avenue and takes readers on a walking tour of the first and grandest mile of the street, beginning with the Cathedral of St. Paul. A second walking tour gives the reader Fitzgerald’s Summit Avenue, including excerpts from his notebooks and stories describing the area. The book concludes with an index of Summit Avenue houses built through the 1970s.


  • By: Ernest R. Sandeen
  • Format: Paperback book, 128 pages, 113 halftones, 3 maps, 1 table, 10-1/4 x 9-1/8
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (April 2004)
  • Product ##: 978-0816644094


Before his death in 1982, Ernest R. Sandeen was the James Wallace Professor of History and codirector of the Living Historical Museum at Macalester College. He served as a member of St. Paul’s Historic Preservation Commission and as a partner in Lanegran, Richter, and Sandeen, an architectural preservation, design, and land-use firm.

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