The Third: Healy Builds in the Wedge

2654-56 Colfax Avenue South, facade
T. P. Healy’s third house is hard to decipher under the asbestos shakes and added dormers and porches. This is his first house in the Wedge, Lowry Hill East. The streetcar line ran in 27th St. from Lyndale Ave.
The house from 27th Street.
 Permit information:
3142 Second Ave. So.
28 x 45 Wood dwelling
Owner: T. P. Healy
12-28-87 / 5-1-88
Est. cost: $4,000.
According to the permit for 2654-56 Colfax Ave. So., Healy expected to be done 2-1-87. 3140 Second Ave. So. doesn’t start until 9-15-87. There is a building boom going on in Minneapolis. We are probably missing a minimum of two houses from this time period, maybe three or four. The older houses often are in the path of development. They are likely gone. They were likely nearby.
The barn, still two stories, but sagging a bit in the middle.  

The Second: 3139 Second Avenue South

3139 is next door to Healy’s first house, shown at left. 

3139 Second Ave. So.                                                                                                  
Wood dwelling
Owner: T. P. Healy 
Est. cost: $3,500. 

 3139 Second Ave. So. is a fancier, more expensive version of the first house, which is to the north at 3137.

As to the partial tower attached to the south side of the house–original or added later to make the house more in line with the sexy curves of the 1890’s. The foundation looks original. If it was changed, it would have happened early.                                                                                                 

Very unusual roofline for Minneapolis at this time. Side gables with an offset, front gable dormer. The dormer projects out over an offset bay. The rectalinear, Eastlake front porch and the silo-slice tower balance everything back to the center. The round of the tower is attached to the house, not incorporated into the design. But we can already see Healy’s interest in balancing a variety of different elements. One of the reasons I find this house so pleasing is that I can’t think of another one like it.
Detail of the front porch.  

There is a small hand drawn floor plan on the permit. The partial tower is part of the original plan for this house.

Healy’s First House: 3137 Second Avenue South

T. P. Healy’s first Minneapolis house. Several things are striking about this house: its simplicity, its fishscale shakes, and its low-pitched roof. Most vernacular houses of this period feature roofs that are high pitched with multiple and multilevel gable ends. Does this design reflect the building style that Healy brought from Nova Scotia?
3137 Second Avenue South

Permit information:
3137 Second Ave. So.
26 x 40 Frame dwelling
Owner: T. P. Healy
Est. cost: $2,200.
There is a small, hand-drawn floor plan.
In summer
The facade

Anders Christensen, T.P.Healy, and the Healy Project

Healy as young man

     Anders Christensen “discovered” the houses of T.P. Healy through his 1979-81 survey of building permits of houses in the Wedge (Lowry Hill East ) neighborhood of Minneapolis.  His initial research found 30 houses, 27 of which are still standing.  He then turned to researching other neighborhoods of the city to learn more about Healy’s life and work.
     Anders’ research was written up by Trilby Busch in a Twin Cities magazine article titled “Legacy of a Master Builder” (Nov. 1981). A photo from the article shows the builder’s descendants on the steps of the porch of the Bennett-McBride House, a Healy-designed Queen Anne listed on the National Register.  Anders continues to work with one of these descendants, John Cuningham, a Minneapolis architect, in tracking down more information about Healy’s background.

3101 2nd Av. S., corner of the Healy block (1890).
Hardware, 1893 Healy Queen Anne

The article outlines the story of Healy’s life, beginning with his birth in Round Hill, Nova Scota, in 1844.  He later moved to Halifax, where he became a prosperous maritime shipper.  However, disaster struck in August of 1883, when one of  Healy’s ships was stranded in a gale off Cape Breton.  Facing financial ruin, Healy and his family moved to the Dakota Territory, thence to Minneapolis, where he switched from building wooden ships to building houses. (For details, see article at
     Currently, Anders’ list of Minneapolis building permits taken out by Healy has 143 entries.  He has compiled this list by searching through old building permits, then driving and walking around neighborhoods to confirm the information on these permits and to see which buildings are still standing.  He has had the help of other architectural historians–Patty Baker, June Burd, Bob Glancy, David Erpestad, Paul Larson, and Dave Wood, and in recent years, Madeline Douglass, Brian Finstad, Sue Hunter-Weir, Ryan Knoke, Sean Ryan, Kathy Kullberg, Tammy Lindberg, Constance Vork, and Montana Scheff.  It is his hope that by posting the information he’s found so far, other researchers will continue to help him build on this work.

Fireplace in 1895 Healy Queen Anne.

The posts for this blog are derived from Anders’ building list, beginning with Healy’s first house (1886) and continuing through those designed by Healy, and later architects, ending with  his death in 1906.  Through these posts, we hope to document the progress of Healy’s career from the designs his fabulous 1880’s and ’90’s Queen Annes, through the post-1893 Colonial/Neo-Classical Revival houses, to the large architect-designed houses of his later years.
–Trilby Busch