A Walk Through Historic 
Upper Swede Hollow
by Karin DuPaul
St. Paul, Minnesota
© 1994
View of the Theodore Hamm Mansion at 671 Greenbrier seen from the top of the bluff.  The building was destroyed by a fire in 1954.
1. Hamm Park at East 7th Street and Greenbrier

In August of 1910, William Hamm donated this park to the city of St. Paul in memory of his father Theodore Hamm, founder of the Hamm Brewing Company. William Hamm served on the City Park Board and the Common Council (the City Council), and believed beautiful parks were an important part of city life. The large rock circle flower garden was part of the original design of this park. Nowadays, many neighborhood people help with the planting and maintenance of the gardens in the park. The deed for the property states that if not used as a park, the property should go back to the owner's descendants. 

The houses across from the park on Greenbrier Street typify the wide variety of housing opportunities in Dayton's Bluff: Fancy Victorians to a 1970's rambler. Guess which two houses were built in 1886-7 by the same builder? It's 629 and 635. They were built by Wm. Schnittger. Both houses have new owners who are in the process of restoring them. The houses at 617 and 623 were moved here from the Minnehaha and Arcade area because of a 3M expansion in the 1940's. Because of a similar expansion in the same area about twenty years later, a local printer needed to relocate. He chose the lot at the end of the block (605) to build his new home with the print shop on the lower level. 

2. Wilder Residence East, 735 East 7th Street

Lawyer Samuel Mayall built his stone mansion on this site in the 1870's. After the Mayall family left the home in about 1903 it was used as the Nugent Institute, a drug and alcohol program that made the claim to cure or kill. Next it was the City Cycling Club headquarters. In 1908 it was the Parental School and Detention Home, which the neighborhood children called the "Bad Boys Home." Ramsey County soon replaced it with Totem Town. In 1915 the Home for the Friendless purchased the property, and replaced the old stone mansion with the south part of the building that Wilder still occupies today. The Home for the Friendless was started in Lower Town by women from 12 St. Paul churches in 1867 to provide a home for the destitute friendless women and children. They later changed the name to the Protestant Home. As the years passed they found that they were caring for more elderly folks. Today the Wilder Foundation operates the facility. 

3. East 7th Street

Selby and East 7th Street were the only streets that had cable cars running on them in St. Paul. The first East 7th cable car ran from downtown to Duluth Street on June 15, 1889. There were problems with cable cars and the system was soon changed to street cars. East 7th Street developed as a street car business strip. Hospital Linen was formerly Mother's Friend Laundry. Today's Good Shepherd Church building originally housed the Dayton's Bluff Commercial Club (above). Also located on that block in the 1880's and 90's was the Anderson's Lumber Company where Super America is today. The G T Parts building was built to house the Dayton's Bluff Post Office. Mixed in with the businesses there were some homes, just like there are today. 

4. St. John's Lutheran Church, Hope and Margaret

The church came to this site in Dayton's Bluff in 1887. The large brick church was designed by Herman Kretz and had a spectacular 125 foot steeple. The old church (above) was demolished and the present building was built in 1965. 

5. 745-747 Margaret Street

745-747 Margaret Street was built in 1886 as the Margaret Street Police Station (top). It was one of the four sub-stations that served the St. Paul neighborhoods until the 1930's when all of the police worked out of the then new Central Station Downtown. Only two of these buildings still stand: this one and the Union Park Station on Prior near University. In 1950 this one was converted to a fourplex (above).

6. 732 Margaret Street 

The architect of 732 Margaret Street was H. Kretz and Company and construction started July 12, 1890 and was finished September 5th for $6,000. This house was built for the Henry D. Defiel family. Defiel was a business person who owned Peoples Ice Company and other St. Paul businesses. This house has been beautifully restored. 

7. 717 Margaret

717 Margaret was built in 1900 for Mrs. Emma Classen after her husband died. Her sister lived next door at 715 Margaret and the two houses were connected by a first floor walk way so the sisters could easily visit each other. Over the years this house has been remodeled a number of times. 

8. 715 Margaret

715 Margaret was built in 1892 for J. F Franzen and family. The architects were Reed and Stem. Mrs. Franzen, teacher by trade, taught the younger grade neighborhood children in a room that was added to the back of the house. As the children got older, they went to Van Buren Elementary School which was about one mile away. The plan for this house was so good that in 1901 builder J. H. Brandhorst built a reverse plan house at 723 Margaret. 

9. 658 Greenbrier

658 Greenbrier was the site of the Mayall stable which was destroyed by fire on April 1, 1900. William and Marie Hamm purchased the property to be used as a park-like play area for the children. A large rock circle flower garden (like the one at Hamm Park today) and a Civil War Cannon were on the property until the mid 1930's. The present building was built in the 1960's. 

10. 668 Greenbrier

This home was built in 1892 for William Hamm, Sr., as a wedding gift for his bride Marie Scheffer Hamm. The architects for the house were Reed and Stem. By 1904, William Sr. and family had outgrown the house. At that point, the Hamm families in the area made the decision to stay here (rather then move somewhere else, such as fashionable Summit Avenue). The William Hamm family moved across the street to 671 Greenbrier (from 1889 to the mid 1940's this part of Greenbrier was renamed Cable Ave.) William's sister and husband George Benz and family had been living at 680 Greenbrier, they moved to 668 Greenbrier. In 1926 the Benz family moved to a new house on the River Road. After the Benz family left, Williams' sister Marie and her husband Otto Muller moved from 672 Greenbrier (next door) into 668 Greenbrier. Their son had recently married and they made 672 Greenbrier their home. Otto died in 1932. At that point Marie decided to move back next door with her son and family.

The Hamm family were very generous people giving time and money to a number of St. Paul charities over the years. They decided to donate the use of the house at 668 Greenbrier to the Community Chest which used it as East Side Relief Center where long lines of poor people came for public assistance. The Hamm's sold the house in 1934 beginning the forty year boarding house era. In 1976 a family bought it to restore and return the use to a single family home. Though the exterior of this house has been altered and greatly deteriorated, much of the interior is intact. Plans are under way to have the external work done in the next couple years. 

11. 672 Greenbrier

Built in 1891 for Otto Muller and his bride Marie Hamm, the house was designed by architect, A. F Gauger. This is a beautiful home inside and out. Lousie, one of the Muller children, enjoyed telling the story about the big move in 1904: she and her siblings sat on the front steps of their house, "and how exciting it was to see so many people move so many things". In recent years this house has been totally restored. 

12. 680 Greenbrier

680 Greenbrier was built in 1887 and designed by architect E. P Bassford. Peter and Emma Classen were the first owners of the house. Peter worked at the brewery and Emma had a fancy goods shop downtown. Peter became quite ill and died. Emma wanted to stay near her brother Otto Muller and sister Alice Franzen so a small Victorian house was built at 717 Margaret. The George Benz family moved in and lived in 680 Greenbrier until 1904 then they moved down the block to 668 Greenbrier. John and Emma (Hamm, yes another sister) Flanagan moved in during 1904 and Emma lived in the house up into the 1950's. 

13. Carriage houses (behind 680 Greenbrier)

Carriage Houses were built in 1904 for the Hamm families horses then later used for the cars. George Benz was the owner of the carriage houses. One of the carriage houses burned to the ground in 1987 and the other one has been converted into a duplex. 

14. Old Stairway and roadway to the Brewery

At the end of Greenbrier there was a stairway that connected the Hamm Brewery to the Hammlet (little community). At one time Greenbrier curved to the left and went down the side of the hill to the brewery. 

15. Theodore Hamm Brewery

Keller's Excelsior Brewery started in 1860 on Phalen Creek near the Stillwater Road crossing. Theodore Hamm and his young family came to the brewery in 1865. The brewery was owned and operated by the Hamm family for over one hundred years when they got out of the brewing business. It is now home to the Stroh Brewery. 

16. Hamm Mansion site

Please read the historical marker in the park. The red brick mansion sat in the area the neighborhood residents call the thicket. Top: A photo of the mansion, taken before it was destroyed by fire in 1954.
Above:  The park that now stands on the site.

17. Swede Hollow

Please read the historic marker located in the park. There was a business community, at Stillwater Road at the Phalen Creek crossing, that dated back to the 1840's. The immigrant settlement of small homes was in the southern part of the valley, approximately where Stroh is today. 

18. Bates Street

Bates Street was named after Maria Bates Dayton, wife of Lyman Dayton, the land speculator for whom the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood was named. There were two houses that sat at 639 Bates overlooking Swede Hollow, the first house built in the 1880's which was replaced with a rambler in the 1960's. 

Some of the buildings in this 1887 lithograph are still standing today.
19. 635 Bates

This house was built in 1888 for John Allenson, who worked at the St. Paul Foundry. According to a niece, they had beautiful gardens in the back of the house complete with a fish pond. His wife lived in the house until the late 1970's. Now this house has been completely restored inside and out. John also owned and developed some property at the other end of the block and had the houses built at 612, 608, and 604 Bates, which were sold to new families moving into the area. 

20. 608 Bates

608 Bates was built in 1910 for John Allenson. It is a classic style "patternbook" house. The Upper Swede Hollow Neighborhood Association purchased the house 1992. USHNA had it rehabilitated through the city of St. Paul's Houses to Homes program and sold it to a home owner. 

21. Bates Triangle Park

This land was donated to the city as a park by Lyman C. Dayton in memory of his mother Maria Bates Dayton Neil. The streets Maria and Bates were also named after her. Dayton's Bluff was named after her husband, Lyman Dayton, who owned most of the land on Dayton's Bluff. Other places he owned property that were named after him include: Dayton Avenue and Dayton, Minnesota. 

22. North Street

North Street was named because it was the north border of the plat filed in 1852. 

23. 644 North

644 North is the site of a large ice house built in 1886 by the Peoples Ice Company owned by Henry Defiel who lived at 732 Margaret Street (see #6.) 

24. Fountain Place

Fountain Place was named because of the beautiful Victorian terraced landscape with gardens, pools, and fountain that graced the grounds of 614 Fountain Street. The first owner was Francis Linz. After his death his daughter Clara and her husband F. W. Bergmeier lived in the house. The Bergmeier's ran the local Gerrnan newspaper, the Volkszeitung.  After F. W. died Clara continued running the paper until 1923. 

25. First Lutheran Church

The First Lutheran Church at Maria and Eighth Street was the lst Lutheran congregation in Minnesota, established in 1854. A number of Swedish Lutheran people learned that a minister was on his way to start the "1st Lutheran church in Minnesota" in Center City, so they met him at the steamboat, and convinced him to start a church in St. Paul on his way to Center City. The present building was built in 1917.

26. Metropolitan State University, East 7th Street & Maria. 

This was the site of the St. John's German Lutheran Hospital (above) which opened in the Gustav Willius mansion at 390 Hoffman Ave. (now Mounds Blvd.) in 1911. Old hospital stories include one about the nurses and doctors carrying the patients up and down the stairs because there was no elevator in the old mansion. Today it is home to Metropolitan State University. 

27. East 7th Street 

There were a number of residences between Maria and Bates including the homes of J. K Humphrey and O. E. Zimmerman. The East Team Police Station at 699 E. 7th is a building that was built as the John Doeren Cigar Co. The Doeren family home was next door at 695 E. 7th and was moved to 412 Bates in the 1960's. After the cigar company went out of business the Eric Lind Shoe Company moved in and was in business at that site until the 1970's when they moved to Stillwater. They started the business making shoes for the well to do people and orthopedic shoes. In the 1930's they started making bowling shoes for the Hamm teams and later for the general public. 

28. 725-733 East 7th Street

The W. P. Stutzman Block was built in the 1880's in sections and was designed by architect A. F Gauger. Buildings at 721 and 723 attached to the Stutzman were destroyed some years ago. A Stutzman lived in an apartment in the building through the 1930's. The Upper Swede Hollow Neighborhood Association purchased the building in 1994. The goal is to return this highly visible Victorian building to a community asset, to improve conditions in the living quarters, and to make this a headquarters for community people and organizations. The community garden located on the west end of the property is an ongoing community project. It was started in 1993 with help from a class at Metro State University, 3M, Dayton's Bluff District 4 Community Council, Upper Swede Hollow Neighborhood Association, and many community people. 

If you have additional information about the history of the Upper Swede Hollow area or old photographs to share, please call Karin DuPaul at 651-776-0550.

The Upper Swede Hollow Neighborhood Association is a neighborhood based organization serving the housing needs of the Upper Swede Hollow and Dayton's Bluff areas.  Inquiries about the area are welcome -- call their office at 651-771-2659.

This tour guide was made possible by the Dayton's Bluff Community Council.

For more information, please call 651-772-2075.