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Shingle-style home wins Minneapolis designation as historic landmark

The upper floors of the house are covered with shingles that wrap around the corners without interruption, a characteristic of the architectural style.

The 108-year-old Shingle style house, just south of Lake Street on 5th Avenue, is now officially an "Historic Landmark" in Minneapolis. It was built in 1905 for Frank and Laura Chase.
City of Minneapolis

A Shingle-style home built for Frank and Laura Chase in 1904 is now officially designated a historic landmark, following Friday’s vote by the Minneapolis City Council.

“It’s a gorgeous house,” said Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, who sponsored the home’s candidacy for designation. “It is a unique structure. It was always distinctive to me, even walking by on the street door-knocking in the neighborhood.”

The Heritage Preservation Commission recommended the designation based on both its Shingle-style design and the work of master builder Maurice Schumacher and master architect William Kenyon.

The upper floors of the house, at 3045 Fifth Ave. S., are covered with shingles that wrap around the corners without interruption, a characteristic of the architectural style, according to the commission’s study of the home. The house also has steeply pitched rooflines and many eaves that are also signature items of the style.

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At the time of its construction, the Shingle style already was waning in popularity. A front porch added to the house in 1914 was not part of the original plan. A garage was added in 1933 that mirrors the original design of the house but is probably not historic, according to the commission study (PDF).

“Its special for the neighborhood,” said Glidden of the house that sits just off Lake Street. “The Central Neighborhood treasures its historical properties.”

Master builder Schumacher came to Minneapolis in about 1890 from the Wisconsin dairy farm where he grew up.  He was 19 then, arriving with a new pair of overalls and $10. He found a job as a carpenter’s apprentice and within 10 years owned his own contracting business.

He worked on the Foshay Tower, the Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. building downtown and Vincent Hall at the University of Minnesota. When he died at age 79 in 1950, he was front-page news in the Minneapolis Morning Tribune, according to the study.

Master architect Kenyon, who came to Minneapolis from the East Coast in 1893, was in private practice at the time he designed the Chase House. He was the chief architect for the Soo Line Railroad for 20 years and designed Abbott Hospital in 1919.

Frank and Laura Chase, who moved to Minneapolis from the East Coast in 1889, moved into their new house in 1905.  Frank Chase managed commercial property and was involved in real estate and insurance businesses.

They were mentioned in the Minneapolis Morning Tribune Society News on occasion in 1910 and later for their informal entertaining and weddings but were not historically important, according to the commission report.

New China Wok update

New China Wok owner Xiu Ben Lan has paid $17,100 in fines charged by the Department of Regulatory Services for 193 violations of the city health code. That payment will allow the restaurant at 50th and France  to keep its license.

Earlier, the City Council’s Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee voted to withdraw the license if the fines were not paid by Oct. 5, but the owner paid by the deadline. The dispute over fines goes back to 2008.

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The restaurant closed in August.

At an earlier public hearing, an attorney for Xiu Ben Lan told council committee members that his client had a new business plan and hired new staff.

 Airport noise concerns

Minneapolis is officially joining the discussion about future airport noise and pollution in the form of a five-page letter from Mayor R.T. Rybak to the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

The commission is starting work on a 2020 Environmental Assessment as it contemplates an airport expansion and improvements to its two terminals.

“The increased air traffic that would drive such expansion will mean more noise over a larger footprint in Minneapolis,” Rybak states in the letter.

The mayor also asks that assessments of noise and air pollution be taken with actual measurements on the ground, not just by a count of planes in the air. It also asks the commission to fund all of the needed noise and air pollution studies for the 2020 assessment.

“We’re asking our airport to be a leader,” said Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy, noting the impact of the noise and air pollution across the city.