In St. Paul we have old houses

The wonderful thing about houses is they can be retrofitted. I live in a house built in the 1850s.  It didn’t have wifi back then and there was an outhouse in the backyard. Central heating was added at some point and so was a water heater.

Today it has “smart home” technology, which in most cases is super easy to install and use.

Understanding old houses is an important part of my job. I have rarely met an old house that I don’t like. Sometimes people ruin them when they remodel so that the house has some character from the turn of the century and some from the 1980s.

The oldest houses in St. Paul are those that are the closest to downtown. The newest houses are in the Eastern and Western edge of the city. There are newer houses here and there and even some new construction.  Half of all houses in St. Paul were built before 1920. The chart is a screen print from a city of St. Paul planning report.

age of houses
Age of housing stock

The house I grew up in was a beautiful craftsman-style house in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood. It was built in 1926 and is the newest house I ever lived in. It had an ancient boiler that burned oil.  I well remember the great oil shortage and taking turns with my dad hauling containers of diesel fuel from the local gas station and using it as fuel for the boiler. That same boiler was later converted to natural gas.


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