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House History: Home

Research your house's history.
Research your house's history!

Do you want to know the history of a house or find its architect, builder, or previous owners?

Use this guide to find resources that can help you with your search.

Most of the items listed here are available in the Nicholson Information Commons, on the 2nd floor of the Central Library in downtown Saint Paul.

Other Resources

Ramsey County Historical Society Library and Archives

  • Building permits, photo archives, directory of architects and historic site surveys.

Minnesota Historical Society

Neighborhood Histories

Start Here

Drafting a House HistoryDrafting a House History

In-depth introduction to researching a house history, compiled by librarians at the University of Minnesota's Northwest Architectural Archives.

House and Building History Research

A guide to researching homes and other buildings, compiled by the Minnesota Historical Society.


Directories

St. Paul City Directories

Beginning with the 1929 volume there is a listing by street name and then number, which can be used to trace former residents. The names section can then provide more information on that person and sometimes other members of the family.

Dual City Blue Books  (1895-1923)

A social register of the Twin Cities. Listings are by street address, but not everyone is listed.

House History Handifile

Index to information about famous houses in Saint Paul, filed by street address and by the name of the house (which is usually the name of the first owner).

House History Notebook

A collection of articles and other materials on how to research house history.

St. Paul Subject Handifile

References to parts of books, magazines, newspapers, newspaper clippings, etc. Look under Houses and under names of houses. Located in the Nicholson Information Commons.

The house history notebook and handifiles are available at the reference desk in the Nicholson Information Commons, on the 2nd floor of the Central Library. Please ask a librarian for assistance.

Secondary Resources

Books

Historic St. Paul Buildings  (1964) - FS-460 .K78H or F614 .S4K7
Photographs, architectural information, architect's name, owners and construction dates of many St. Paul houses.

Saint Paul Architecture  (1975) - FS-90 .A4S37 or NA735 .S3S3
Descriptions of what types of house and when they were built for many St. Paul neighborhoods. Contains many photographs of individual houses and descriptions of some.

A Guide to the Architecture of Minnesota  (1977) - NA730 .M6G3
Short architectural descriptions of many St. Paul homes with a few photographs.

Saint Paul Omnibus: Images of the Changing City  (1979)  - FS-460 .S2 or NA735 .S24S24
Descriptions of individual houses, architectural profiles of neighborhoods including information on additional houses and many photographs.

St. Paul's Historic Summit Avenue  (1978, 2004) - FS-725 .S8S3 or F614 .S4S365
Historic and architectural information on most of the homes on Summit Avenue.

Minnesota Houses: An Architectural & Historical View  (1967) - FS-740 .K4 or NA7235.M6K4
Many St. Paul houses discussed in the text. Arrangement is by architectural style, with no index.

Historic Sites Survey, St. Paul and Ramsey County  (1981-1983) - FS-740 .H58 or F612 .R2H5
Information on  historic sites in St. Paul. Volume 3 contains information on individual houses.

Building the Future from Our Past (1975) - FS-411 .H5O42 or NA108 .S24 O42
Information on the historic Hill District. There is only a little information on individual houses, but a good deal of information on the development of the neighborhood.

Newspapers and Magazines

St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch Newspaper Index - FS-312 .S13, 1967 - 1996.
In the print index, look under Houses or under the name of the house if it has one.

St. Paul History and Area Business Index  - FS-400 .A1S2.
Index to clipping files available on microfilmed aperture cards. Search under Houses, names of famous houses, and names of individuals. Aperture cards are kept in the Magazine Room on the 3rd Floor of the Central Library.

Minneapolis Star and Tribune Index - AI21 .M3, 1971-1986.
Occasionally articles on St. Paul houses would appear. Search under Houses-SP.

Ramsey County History Index - FS-410 .R2 INDEX, 1964-1972.
The best things to look under are the names of the houses and names of people. There are a few listings under Houses. Later issues are indexed in the St. Paul Subject Handifile. Tables of contents are also available online .

Our Minnesota Index  (1976) - F601 .O8.
An index to the Minnesota periodical collection in the South St. Paul Library covering approximately 1965-1975.
Try St. Paul--Historic Houses, Minnesota--Historic Houses, Historic Houses, Houses, and names of famous people for information about their houses.

Minnesota History Index  - Ref F601 .M63
References are to volumes on Minnesota History and then to page numbers.
Use the headings Houses and the names of people. Later issues are indexed in the St. Paul Subject Handifile.

Architecture of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: Journal Articles, 1980-1988  - FS-245 .A7C39 1990.
A bibliography of articles that appeared in architectural journals over an 8-year period.
The majority of articles cover modern construction and commercial or public buildings, but some articles on houses are included.

St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch Morgue
Clipping file of articles from the Pioneer Press and Dispatch from 1910 to the 1940s. Look under Houses--St. Paul, St. Paul--Houses, Construction--St. Paul, neighborhood names, etc.

Subject Guide to the Saint Paul Collection
Located at the Nicholson Information Commons reference desk. Last updated in 1982, but can still provide guidance to much of the collection.