Education Restoration Preservation

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Recent posts:

Healy Block Residential Historic District – 3137 Second Ave So: Healy-Forbes House Healy Block Residential Historic District – Architecture Healy Block Residential Historic District – an Introduction Anders Christensen Receives Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Executive Director’s Award Anders Christensen’s Remarks on Receiving Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Award Healy Project Fundraiser at the Lowbrow, May 7th Winter Party Fundraiser December 2017 Talk: Preservation Advocacy, August 17th Open House at 1300 Mount Curve Avenue East Lake of the Isles Walking Tour May 21st New Research on the “Lost” Healy Block: Tour May 7th A Presentation on Master Builders Ingham and Parsons, Saturday, March 18th. Healy Project Winter Party Henry Ingham’s Yorkshire Healy Project Fundraiser at the Lowbrow, May 9th Healy Block Historic District Tour: April 17th Healy Project Holiday Old House Reception CANCELED–Healy Block Historic District Walking Tour–November 8 More Hauntings: Houses Built by Henry Ingham Healy House Hauntings Tour Intro to the History of the North Wedge North Wedge Architectural Walking Tour, October 3rd Healy Phoenix #2 Healy Phoenix #1 Report on the Event: A Great Dinner for a Good Cause A Child’s View of T.P. Healy’s Family Big Win for Healy Block Residents: Revised I-35W Expansion Plan T.P. Healy: Farmer, Commission Merchant & Wholesale Grocer in Nova Scotia Open April 25th: Restored 1885 House in Wedge Learn from the Past, Learn from the Present Grandstanding and Stonewalling at City Hall: Trashing the Public Trust Orth House Demolition An Open Letter to Minneapolis City Council Regarding the Orth House Demolition The Truth Will Out II: More Lies That Brought Down 2320 Colfax Avenue South The Truth Will Out: Lies that Brought Down 2320 Colfax Avenue South Judge Denies Injunction against Wrecking 2320 Colfax Avenue South Poisoning the Well: Testimony about 2320 Colfax Avenue South “City Ghosts” Visit Victorian House Historic North Wedge Walking Tour: Sunday, September 7th Combining New and Old: A New Vision for the Orth House A Place That Matters Healy Project Files Suit to Stop Demolition of the Orth House Happy Earth Day, Zero-Credibility City of Minneapolis Stop Demolition: Allow a designation study for the Orth House Perverting New Urbanism II: Greenwashing Demolition Perverting New Urbanism for Fun and Profit Size Matters: Development at Franklin-Lyndale DEN$ITY: Building Utopia in Gopher City Hypocrisy at City Hall: Planning Department Scorns Sustainable Development Déjà Vu All Over Again: Threats to Healy Houses Renewed Healy Project Special Kickoff Tour Saving Private Houses In Landmark Decision, City Council Stops Demolition of 2320 Colfax Avenue South What’s the Greenest Building? Who Lives in Lowry Hill East? Revoltin’ Developments VI: What You Can Do Revoltin’ Developments V: Sappy Citizens and Maudlin Attachments Revoltin’ Developments IV: Density and City Planning Revoltin’ Developments III: Density and Livability Revoltin’ Developments II: Healy Houses in the Wedge Revoltin’ Developments, Part I Healy Descendant Acquires the Bennett-McBride House On Memorial Day Lost Healys on the Healy Block More Lost Healys The Broom House: 3111 Second Avenue South More on Round Hill Happy Birthday, T.P. The Edmund G. Babbidge House: 3120 Third Avenue South Brightening the Corner: 3101 Second Avenue South 2936 Portland Avenue The Andrew H. Adams House: 3107 Second Avenue South Clones: 2932 Park and 1425 Dupont North The J.B. Hudson House: 3127 Second Avenue South Second Healy Family Home: 3131 Second Avenue South Schlocked: ‎2639-41 Bryant Avenue South 1976 Sheridan Avenue South: Preserved Exterior The William L. Summer House, 3145 Second Avenue South Two More in the Wedge Weapon of Mass Healy Destruction: I-35W Construction The Third: Healy Builds in the Wedge The Second: 3139 Second Avenue South Healy’s First House: 3137 Second Avenue South Anders Christensen, T.P.Healy, and the Healy Project

Lost Healys on the Healy Block

  Note: This is a corrected version of the May 23rd posting, edited after a recent interview with Wayne Tinberg.  A new post on that interview will follow.   

The roadbed for 35W being laid in Richfield in 1960.

      The previous blog post was devoted to three Healy houses lost to freeway construction and one to changes in fashion.  So far, the entries on this blog have presented the building list of Healy houses in roughly chronological order.  
      At this point, it may be helpful to take a look specifically at all the houses wrecked for I-35W construction in 1959-60, no matter what their building date.
     According to city records, nine houses designed by T.P. Healy were built on the west side of the 3100 block of Second Ave. South.  In order of house number, they are:
3106, built in 1888 for $3,000
3108, built in 1888 for $3,000

3116 (directly across the street from the Healy family home), built in 1896 for $4,500
3120, built in 1892 for $9,000
3130, built in 1889 for $5,000
3132, built in 1889 for $5,000
3136, built in 1891 for $7,000
3140, built in 1887 for $6,000

3142, built in 1887 for $4,000

Here they are again, in order of year built:


An old photo of 3130 Second Avenue (courtesy Robert-Jan Quene). It would be interesting to find more photos of these lost Healy houses.
      One can deduce that the three pairs of houses built side-by-side in the 1880s were probably built on spec by Healy.  The house built in 1891 is apparently a much fancier house, a stone veneer dwelling costing $7,000.  The one from the next year, 1892, a brownstone, is fancier yet, erected for the princely sum of $9,000.

The most famous resident of that block was Richard W. Sears,  co-founder of the Sears and Roebuck Company.      

According to the Sears company archives:
Richard Warren Sears was born December 7, 1863, in Stewartville, Minn. Although Sears’ father was at one time fairly prosperous, he lost all of his money—about $50,000—in a failed stock-farm venture. 
Consequently, at a young age, Richard Sears found it necessary to work in order to help support the family. Working as a station agent for the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad, Sears looked to supplement his income. In 1886, he found an ideal solution when a local jeweler refused a consignment of watches. Sears asked the manufacturer’s permission to try to sell the watches. Permission was granted, and soon he had sold all of them to fellow agents.

Within six months, Richard Sears’ watch business escalated so much that he resigned from the railroad in 1886 and moved to Minneapolis, where he could devote full time to his growing mail-order enterprise, which he founded that year as the R.W. Sears Watch Company. He was only 22 years old.
Sears joined forces with watch repairman Alvah C. Roebuck in 1887 and then with key financier and future president and chairman Julius Rosenwald in 1895. The headquarters of Sears, Roebuck and Co. had been established in Chicago in 1893.
In 1908, poor health forced Richard Sears to retire from active participation in his company, which had grown to annual sales of $40 million. He died six years later. 
     The chronology of Sears’ rise is interesting.  When Sears bought 3132 from Healy in 1889, the latter was only 26 years old.  By then, Sears had partnered with Roebuck and set up the company that bore their names (today, only Sears’ name remains). 
“If you buy a good watch you will always be satisfied, and at our prices a good watch will influence the sale of another good watch; and that’s our motto: “Make a Watch,Sell a Watch.” (Richard Sears in 1892)
     Wayne Tinberg, who bought the Healy-built house at 3124 Third Avenue South in 1959, told Madeline Douglass that the homeowners on that block used to celebrate Healy’s birthday each year–hence the hastily-organized birthday celebration behind Healy’s family home at 3115 this year.  It is remarkable that even many years after Healy’s death, the people who lived in the houses he built on Second Avenue remembered and celebrated his work.  
      The “urban removal” of the 1950s and ’60s changed all that and brought many Victorian houses into the clutches of slumlords or in front of the paths of bulldozers.  The revival begun in the ’70s with the designation of the Healy block to the historic register continues today, through fits and starts, enduring ups and downs.  But sadly, for many houses in Central Minneapolis, the danger from bulldozers, slumlords, and “flippers” has not gone away.  The housing crisis of 2008 has only made it worse.
     Much research remains to be done on the architectural legacy of Healy, including work on his connection with Sears and many other prominent people of his day in Minnesota.  If people value something, they will make an effort to keep it safe, and it is through this research that we hope to preserve T.P. Healy’s splendid architectural legacy.


A freeway exit marks the place where the Healy houses on the west side of the 3100 block of Second Avenue once stood.  They were wrecked in 1960 when the building of I-35W cut a swath of destruction through the center of South Minneapolis.  
1.) Permit information:
3132 Second Ave. So.
40 x 52 Frame dwelling
Owner: T. P. Healy
6-22-89 / 10-1-89
Est. cost: $5,000.
This house is much wider than he is typically building at this time.
By starting this house, we can see from the dates on the permits that he is working on three different houses in two different neighborhoods–Central and Kenwood.
2.) Permit information:
3130 Second Ave. So.
30 x 52 Frame dwelling
Owner: T. P. Healy
4-17-89 / 8-1-89
Est. cost: $5,000.
3) Permit information:
3136 Second Ave. So.
35 x 60 Stone ven. dwelling
Owner: T. P. Healy
Builder: T. P. Healy
8-5-91 / 11-1-91
Est. cost: $7,000.
Wrecked: 1960
 This is the most expensive house up to this date that Healy built on this his “home” block. It stood directly across the street from the first house that we know he built.
425 Groveland Avenue
4) The house shown is not a Healy, but a Healy house built for Gilbert M. Walker (whose wife founded the Walker Art Center) stood on this site from 1892 until 1923. This is the first Lost Healy, lost to the Roaring Twenties. Think of everything that happened between 1891 and 1923; the world had changed in so many ways. A man like Walker wasn’t going to live out his days in a Victorian house. It was so last century.
The house pictured above was Gilbert Walker’s new house.
Permit information:
425 Groveland Ave.
82.9 x 56.7 Tile Dwelling
Owner: Gilbert M. Walker
Architect: Ernest Kennedy
Builder: Nels Jenson
10-3-23 / 5-1-24
(Interior to be completed later.)
Est. cost: $30,000.

Gilbert Walker would die in 1928; his wife lived until 1951.
From Wikipedia: The (Walker) Museum’s focus on modern art began in the 1940’s , when a gift from Mrs. Gilbert Walker made possible the acquisition of works by important artists of the day including sculptures by Picasso, Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti and others.

T. P. Healy had built a house for J. B. Gilfillan at 218 Clifton Ave. in 1905-06, designed by the same architect, Ernest Kennedy. Nels Jenson, the builder of this house, was Healy’s foreman.

 In 1960, miles of homes on the west side of Second Avenue South were wrecked to permit the construction of the new Interstate highway, 35W.  Among those destroyed were half of the houses on the current Healy Block.

There are only two houses on the Healy building list from 1887: 3140 Second Ave. So. and 3142 Second Ave. So. This is where they sat from 1887-1960.
The view looking north on the Healy Block from 32nd Street.  At left is the strip of grass at the I-35W off-ramp.
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.

The site of 3106 Second Ave. S.
Permit information:
3106 Second Ave. So.
24 x 40 Wood dwelling
Owner: T. P. Healy
Est. cost: $3,000.
He has gone back to a much smaller and cheaper house. House was wrecked in 1959 for I-35W

The site of 3108 Second Ave. S.

Permit information:
3108 Second Ave. So.
24 x 40 Wood dwelling
Owner: T. P. Healy
Est. cost: $3,000.