Back to top

Frederick Spangenberg House, St. Paul

Creator: 
Contributor: 
Minnesota Historical Society Press
  • Cite
  • Share
  • Correct
  • Comment
  • Print
Frederick Spangenberg, 375 Mount Curve, St. Paul

Frederick Spangenberg House, St. Paul, c.1965.

In 1864 Abraham Lincoln was reelected president, General Sherman's army marched on Atlanta, and oxen began hauling yellow limestone over the snow to the site of the Frederick Spangenberg house, one of St. Paul's oldest extant stone farmhouses.

When the house was under construction, Spangenberg and his wife, Anna, lived in a log cabin on one end of the property, near where Jefferson and Cretin avenues intersect today. Spangenberg was a German immigrant who built a prosperous dairy farm and milk-distribution business. He also designed his house. When completed in 1867, it was surrounded by an eighty-acre dairy farm, well outside the St. Paul city limits.

Today, the house is surrounded not by fields and barns but by the paved streets and ample houses of the Highland Park neighborhood. Sited on a wooded lot, the house at 375 Mount Curve Boulevard—a two-story Greek Revival with two-foot-thick, random coursed walls—is somewhat obscured from the street by tall hedges. A one-story appendage originally served as a kitchen but was converted into a sitting room in 1932 by two of the Spangenberg sons, who lived in the house after their parents' deaths. The sons also transformed the first-floor bedroom into a kitchen, the parlor into a dining room, and one of the four upstairs bedrooms into a bathroom.

In 1954 the Spangenbergs' youngest granddaughter, Mrs. Gertrude M. Yates, and her husband moved in and updated the interior while preserving its historic integrity. Then almost a century old, the house still contained a wine cellar complete with wooden casks and press, paddles and crocks for butter and cheese making, and a cabbage cutter used for large-scale production of sauerkraut—a source of vitamins in the winter. The Yates family lived in the house until 1972, marking the end of the Spangenberg era. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

  • Cite
  • Share
  • Correct
  • Comment
  • Print
© Minnesota Historical Society
  • Bibliography
  • Related Resources

Boardman, Kathryn, "Farmhouse in a City Setting." St. Paul Pioneer Press, September 11, 1955, Roto Magazine.

Hiebert, Gareth, "Old Spangenberg Place." St. Paul Pioneer Press, December 15, 1974.

"Spangenberg, Frederick House." National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, September 1975. State Historic Preservation Office, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.

Related Images

Frederick Spangenberg, 375 Mount Curve, St. Paul
Frederick Spangenberg, 375 Mount Curve, St. Paul
Framed portrait of Spangenbergs
Framed portrait of Spangenbergs
Spangenberg clock shelf
Spangenberg clock shelf
Cows in farmyard at Spangenberg farm
Cows in farmyard at Spangenberg farm
Frederick Spangenberg Sr.
Frederick Spangenberg Sr.
Anna Sontag Spangenberg
Anna Sontag Spangenberg
Frederick Spangenberg Sr. and family
Frederick Spangenberg Sr. and family
Family of Frederick Spangenberg Sr.
Family of Frederick Spangenberg Sr.
William and Frederick Spangenberg Jr. with family and friends
William and Frederick Spangenberg Jr. with family and friends
William Spangenberg seated with friends in a hammock
William Spangenberg seated with friends in a hammock
House at 375 Mount Curve, Frederick Spangenberg, St. Paul
House at 375 Mount Curve, Frederick Spangenberg, St. Paul
Noiseless Automatic Sewing Machine designed by by the Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine Company in London, England. The treadle and gears run smoothly on this chain stitch sewing machine. The machine is mounted on a wooden table with an iron base, a foot treadle, and three drawers.
Noiseless Automatic Sewing Machine designed by by the Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine Company in London, England. The treadle and gears run smoothly on this chain stitch sewing machine. The machine is mounted on a wooden table with an iron base, a foot treadle, and three drawers.

Turning Point

The Frederick Spangenberg house is added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 in recognition of its age and unusual survival from rural farmhouse to city residential home.

Chronology

1864
Oxen begin hauling yellow limestone to the site of the Frederick Spangenberg house in St. Paul.
1867
The Frederick Spangenberg house is complete for its owners, German dairy farmers.
1932
The house's one-story kitchen is converted into a sitting room by two of the Spangenberg sons.
1954
The Spangenbergs' youngest granddaughter, Mrs. Gertrude M. Yates, and her husband move in and update the interior.
1972
The Yates family moves out of the house, marking the end of the Spangenberg era.
1976
The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.