Property Information

Heirloom Home


1304 1st St N

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Conceived in the Prison

          August Neumann worked in the state prison at the foot of Elm Street while he planned the construction of his house at 1304 North First Street. Born in Prussia about 1845, he and his wife, Veronica, immigrated to Stillwater around 1870. In April of 1881, August purchased this lot, and within a year began building his $1,000 home. The 1885 Census lists August, Veronica, a son, Herman age 15, a daughter, Catherine age 10, and one other child, age 12. The Neumann family lived in the house until the death of August in 1920.
          In the 1880s and ‘90s, when Victorian extravagance was the fashion, the Neumann house was unusually stark in its simplicity. Italianate in style, this comfortable two-story home has a hip roof, arched windows, and a rounded transom over the front door. But lacking are the typical brackets and dentils under the eaves, the projecting window bay, the decorative hoods over the windows. It is a large five-bay (window) house, with a center hallway design, set up on a knoll surrounded by a spacious lot, but there is nothing grandiose about it. The simple front door portico, which appears to be original, emphasizes the chasteness of the house. Even though the handsome house is somewhat the worse for wear, the overall impression is still one of self-assurance.
          Was the lack of ornamentation the result of an aesthetic decision, or did August simply find himself short of money when he came to finish the house? We will probably never know. But in this area of modest houses, many of which were built by employees of the near by prison, this commodious and stately home is unique.

Source(s): Building date and value is from the original annual tax assessors’ rolls, 1883 (on microfilm in the St. Croix Collection, Stillwater Public Library); Book 10 of Deeds, Page 102; 1885 Census. August’s obituary is in the Stillwater Daily Gazette, January 20, 1920. For a history of the neighborhood, see A History of the South Half of the Carli & Schulenburg Addition Residential Area, by Donald Empson, 2001.

Washington County Parcel Identification Number (PIN): 2103020430080

Common Property Name: Neumann August & Veronica

State Historic Preservation Office Inventory Number: WA-SWC-1122

Construction Date:   1882



Architectural Style: Italianate

Property information and narrative was compiled by:  Donald Empson, Empson Archives  - 12/27/2008