10 to Tour

The backside of the James J Hill House in St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

The metro’s residential icons include former homes—now museums, restaurants, and clubs—that are open to the public. Our picks for 10 famous Twin Cities homes to tour:

 

The entryway into the Alexander Ramsey House shows white Victorian architecture with brick incorporated.
Alexander Ramsey House. Photo by Landmark Photography

Alexander Ramsey House. Explore a Victorian-era home filled with the original possessions and furnishings of the family of Minnesota’s first territorial governor. 265 Exchange St. S., St. Paul, sites.mnhs.org

 

The front facade of the American Swedish Institute that looks like a castle.
American Swedish Institute. Photo by Morgan Sheff Photography

Swan J. Turnblad Mansion/American Swedish Institute. Turnblad, a Swedish immigrant and newspaper publisher, began building the “Castle” in 1903. He and his family lived in the $1.5 million mansion (an outrageous amount at the time) for less than 10 years, donating it in 1929 to the organization that came to be known as the American Swedish Institute. Behold the turrets, catwalks, spires, and gables modeled after European castles as well as the intricately carved and embellished interiors that make it one of the more unique famous Twin Cities homes. 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis, asimn.org

 

The frontside of the Ard Godfrey house. A charming home that is painted yellow with bushes lining the walkway up to the front door.
Ard Godfrey House. Photo Courtesy of Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board

Ard Godfrey House. Godfrey, a millwright from Maine built this house in 1848 from the first lumber sawed at the first sawmill at the Falls of St. Anthony. The one-and-a-half story Greek Revival cottage has been moved several times, and today is a museum operated by The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. 50 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis. womansclub.org

 

The Burwell House. It's painted yellow, features a wrap-around porch and a tall tower.
Burwell House. Photo by McGhiever/Wikimedia

Burwell House. Built in 1883 by Charles Henry Burwell, manager of the Minnetonka Mills Company, this Italian villa-style house is near Minnehaha Creek in Minnetonka. Now operated by the city and the Minnetonka Historical Society, it is open to the public during a number of special events. 13209 E. McGinty Road, Minnetonka, eminnetonka.com

 

The Joseph Forepaugh House in St. Paul, Minnesota showcases Victorian architecture at its finest.
Joseph Forepaugh House. Photo by Todd Buchanan

Joseph Forepaugh House. Built in 1870 by a St. Paul pioneer and dry goods tycoon, this fully restored Victorian mansion is now the elegant Forepaugh's Restaurant—renowned for its atmosphere and its ghost sightings. 276 So. Exchange St., St. Paul, 651-224-5607, forepaughs.com

 

A view from the sidewalk in front of the Governor's Residence. Behind the fence is a large multi-story, symmetrical red brick mansion. Large windows adorn the front.
Governor's Residence. Photo by Karen Melvin

Governor’s Residence. Built in 1910-11, the 20-room mansion was donated to the state in 1965 by the daughters of the original owners, Horace Hills Irvine and Clothilde McCullough Irvine. It serves as the official ceremonial building for the governor. The first floor and lower level are open for tours periodically. 1006 Summit Ave., St. Paul, mn.gov

 

The backside of the James J Hill House in St. Paul, Minnesota.
James J. Hill House. Photo Courtesy of MN Historical Society

James J. Hill House. One of the more famous Twin Cities homes, the Richardsonian Romaneque-style mansion, completed in 1891, was the home of Gilded Age railroad tycoon James J. Hill and family for 30 years. The house is part of the Minnesota Historical Society's network of historic sites and museums and is a National Historic Landmark. Guided tours of the four floors and art gallery are available. 240 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, sites.mnhs.org

 

The frontside of a Longfellow House shows a white picket fence outside of a large, two-story, symmetrical yellow home. A brick path leads up to the white front door. Each side of the home features two windows on each story.
Longfellow House. Courtesy of Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

Longfellow House. The former site of the Longfellow Gardens Botanical and Zoological Park, built by Robert “Fish” Jones in 1907, is a two-thirds size replica of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home in Cambridge, Mass. The house has been moved and repurposed a number of times and it is now a hospitality center for the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. 4800 S. Minnehaha Park Dr., Minneapolis, minneapolisparks.org

 

The Purcell-Cuts House. In the front yard is a small pond with a small fountain in the center. The home features two stories with floor-to-ceiling windows and flat roofs. Plants line the home and wrap around back.
Purcell-Cutts House. Photo Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Purcell-Cutts House. Architects William Gray Purcell and George Grant Elmslie built this masterpiece of Prairie-Style design in 1913. The two-story, open-plan house features art glass in every window, as well as custom-designed and built-in furnishings. Bequeathed to Mia in 1985, it is open for tours periodically. 2328 Lake Place, Minneapolis, collections.artsmia.org

 

The Van Dusen Mansion is a red stone castle with cylindrical towers capped with green, pointed roofs.
Van Dusen Mansion. Photo by Bellagala

Van Dusen Mansion. Now an event venue, this mansion was built in 1892 for George Washington Van Dusen and his wife, Nancy. Beginning in the 1940s, it was used by a number of commercial enterprises, then narrowly escaped demolition in the mid-1990s. After a three-year restoration project, the mansion regained its original splendor and place among famous Twin Cities homes, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 1900 LaSalle Ave, Minneapolis, thevandusenmansion.com

 

 

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