Searching for preservable North St. Paul before things change

North St. Paul is going to change in major ways very soon. City staffers and the city council are currently in talks to bring multiple housing projects with nearly 400 units to the city (see the story here). 

Most of the proposed projects will be built on vacant lots. But the project slated for the empty former city hall site on Margaret Street across from the post office will knock down a few structures, including the neighboring blue barn-style building and dentist office, as well as a few homes. 

One of the homes, said North St. Paul City Manager Scott Duddeck, was built in 1887 — it had nothing inside worth saving, and the best thing to do is knock it down. 

The fact the house remained upright and livable for 130 years is a testament to the practical, sturdy and enduring construction of the home.

Before the new slate of projects tips the city’s character in a new direction, perhaps spurring further ambitions that may include knocking down more stuff, I’d like to know about what’s out there. 

Readers; please reach out to me if you know of any home or building, or part of a home or building, that has been around since the 19th century, and tell me why you think it’s cool.

Maybe it’s about to be torn down — maybe even by you, good reader. Maybe it’s here to stay, maybe it’s just weird. Whatever it is — super old, old-school, well-built, badly built but still around — if you think there’s something to it, do please holler at me.


–Solomon Gustavo can be reached at or 651-748-7815.

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