Dayton’s Bluff Homes:
When residents of Saint Paul think of the city’s history, they often think of the rich traditions started near the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood. Dayton’s Bluff was originally founded by Native Americans who built mounds on the bluffs along the side of the Mississippi River. Historic sites within the neighborhood include the original home of Saint Paul’s Hamm’s Brewery, the Carver Cave, the Seventh Street Improvement Arches and Indian Mounds Park.
Indian Mounds Park a 2,000 year old burial ground site, provides one of the best views of downtown Saint Paul. Upper Swede Hollow Park is a historic forest within the neighborhood, while Hamm Park and Maria Bates Park honor some of the neighborhoods significant past residents. The new home to Metro State University, the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood has a rich culture built on heritage. The neighborhood embodies Saint Paul tradition and provides a footprint of the past for residents today.
Popular destinations in and around Dayton’s Bluff include:
- Indian Mounds Park. The location near top of Indian Mounds Park provides majestic views of the city that can set the scene for a romantic night.
- The ancient and historic views of the Seventh Street Improvement Arches on East Seventh.
- Swede Hollow Park, with its gorgeous scenery and calming atmosphere.
- The Strip Club, where you can find the freshest meat and fish in Saint Paul.
History on Daytons Bluff Homes
(information from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dayton%27s_Bluff)
Dayton’s Bluff contains remnants of the earliest inhabitants of the Twin Cities. The landmarks found in its historic district and the community around it tell the story. Indian Mounds Park preserves some of the burial sites of an early group that came to the area more than a thousand years ago.
The development of Dayton’s Bluff as a “suburban” residential location began in the 1840s. The area was named for Lyman Dayton, an early pioneer real estate operator who owned extensive properties and built a home on the Bluff in the 1850s. The community became part of what historians call “the walking city” and was started so early that many of its streets were laid out parallel to the Mississippi River rather than in a north/south manner.
Because of its attractive landscape and scenic vistas, many wealthy residents chose to construct handsome estates on large lots. A sizeable group of prosperous German Americans clustered together. However, the Bluff was never an exclusive enclave of the rich. A St. Paul paper of the time noted that “in the eastern part of the city, on Dayton’s Bluff . . . several hundred dwellings have been erected.” Most of the homes were “of the medium class, for the use of mechanics and employees of the numerous factories that are springing up.” The 1880s through the early 1900s was a time of prosperity. The streetcar arrived and the neighborhood expanded. New development, both commercial and residential, sprang up near the streetcar line, which went up East 7th Street and ended at Duluth Street. The era saw the arrival of new industries, including lumber companies, farm equipment companies, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M), and Seeger Refrigerator, which later became the Whirlpool Corporation.
Modern Dayton’s Bluff
Dayton’s Bluff is one of St. Paul’s undiscovered cultural resources. Beginning as a fashionable residential locale for the wealthy, it evolved in the early 1880s into a suburb of broad social and economic diversity; a place for every man (and woman) to build his house and watch the world grow up around him. That world was made up of breweries and railroads and their workers, carpenters and masons, janitors, grocers and teachers, all with growing families; and interspersed among these, a mix of clerks, salesmen and managers that collected at dawn along Third Street for their daily assault on the heart of the city.
Many of the original homes still stand today and have already celebrated their one-hundredth birthday. The current interest in the revitalization of Dayton’s Bluff focuses largely on the fine older buildings which are the record of the area’s long history.
The Dayton’s Bluff Historic District was approved by the St. Paul City Council in August, 1992. The creation of the Historic District recognizes the historical and architectural significance of this early St. Paul neighborhood and is an important part of neighborhood revitalization in St. Paul’s District 4.
Dayton’s Bluff was named “The Best Undiscovered Neighborhood” by the local publication, City Pages, in 2010. Their publication stated:
Like northeast Minneapolis a decade or two ago, Dayton’s Bluff is a neighborhood in transformation. As places like the Strip Club and Swede Hollow Café bring patrons to the other side of downtown St. Paul, people are getting exposed to the history, beauty, diversity, and culture of the neighborhood. Sitting high on land that overlooks the Mississippi River, Dayton’s Bluff is full of gorgeous historic properties—Queen Anne Victorians, brownstones, and brick manors—available at a fraction of the price of many other city neighborhoods. The area is within walking distance of the St. Paul Farmers’ Market and Mears Park, and is home to Swede Hollow Park, Indian Mounds Park, and the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and Regional Trails. The Bluff also has a wealth of food culture. Italian, Salvadoran, Mexican, Hmong, Vietnamese, and Thai restaurants and markets, along with several incredible taco trucks, make the area a food-geek paradise. The neighborhood is also known for the intense community involvement of residents, evidenced by the multitude of programs promoting neighborhood improvement in the arts, housing, employment, and education. Recently the nonprofit Historic St. Paul reserved money for renovating many of the facades of the businesses on East Seventh Street, and it has started the Fourth Street Preservation Project to help homebuyers renovate, as a way to further preserve and beautify this picturesque neighborhood.—Editors, City Pages
First plotted out to rival Summit Hill as a home to the rich and mighty. While it never reached the glory of its rival it nevertheless was left architectural treasures and inspiring views of the Mississippi River.
A famous house in the Dayton’s Bluff area is the Wakefield House or the William Wakefield house located at 963 Wakefield Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota. The whole block is named after the house and is centered around it. There are two alleys for the one block that dead-end into the house. The house was built in 1860, and the name of the street was changed in 1892. The house is set farther back then the other houses on the street, so that it is hard to view from the street. The house has been restored so that its appearance is reminiscent of its past glory. The current owners offer 1800s-style parties, including tea parties.
The Schornstein Grocery and Saloon, designed by architect Augustus F. Gauger, was built in 1884. It was a popular gathering place for German Americans, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Helpful Links about Dayton’s Bluff Homes:
Board and staff
Culture & history
Dayton’s Bluff e-Democracy
East Side Area Business Association
Map by subdistrict
Photos; past events
Save 3M Building 21
Vacant Home Tour
Walk the Bluff
Explore St Paul Real Estate Neighborhoods