Harry B. Cramer House, 3220 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Harry B. Cramer House

3220 Park Avenue - 2008
Address: 3220 Park Avenue
Neighborhood/s: Central, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1900
Primary Style: Colonial Revival
Historic Function: House/single dwelling or duplex
Current Function: House/single dwelling or duplex
Architect or source of design: Bertrand and Chamberlain
Builder: Horace Newell Leighton, H. N. Leighton Co.
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Wood
Material of Roof: Asphalt Shingles
Material of Foundation: Limestone
First Owner: Harry B. and Marie Cramer
Part of the Site: Park Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Central Minneapolis Hennepin


According to Minneapolis building permits, original owners Harry and Marie Cramer commissioned the prominent Minneapolis architectural team of Bertrand and Chamberlain to design their new Park Avenue home. Local Master Builder Horace N. Leighton was responsible for the construction, which was completed in November of 1900 at a total cost of $4,350.


The well-known and influential architectural firm of Bertrand and Chamberlain was responsible for designing a number of important local commercial structures that today are listed on the Local and National Register of Historic Places, including the Northwestern Knitting Company/Munsingwear building and the Minneapolis Grain Exchange North Building. The firm also designed many fine private residences in Minneapolis's prestigious Lowry Hill and Kenwood neighborhoods, and along Mount Curve Avenue.


Master Builder Horace Newell Leighton was one of the foremost contractors of the city of Minneapolis and President of the H. N. Leighton Co. An excerpt from the Compendium of History and Biography of Minneapolis and Hennepin County reads: "There stand as monuments to his skill, enterprise, and ability many of the finest structures of this city, including the Metropolitan Life Building, the old and new post offices, the Northwestern and the Farmers & Mechanics bank buildings, eight buildings of Carleton College at Northfield, MN, and many other imposing and artistic structures. Horace N. Leighton has won national prominence as a builder and may well be proud of the distinction which was conferred upon him when in 1922 he was elected president of the northwest branch of the Associated General Contractors of America." [1]


Harry B. Cramer was a prosperous Minneapolis businessman and owner of the Harry B. Cramer Co., an interior design firm located on the Leighton Block on Tenth Street that specialized in painting, wallpaper, and decorations. During his successful career, Cramer was responsible for the decoration of many important buildings including the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia; the Metropolitan Building in Minneapolis; the Park Hotel and Hotel Eastman at Hot Springs, Arkansas; and several structures of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, including the Minnesota and the North Dakota State buildings, the Mechanical and Mining building, and the White House Inn.

Harry Cramer was also active in local politics, having served as a Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner for 10 years, where his efforts focused primarily on the development of child life; specifically, the establishment and maintenance of playgrounds.

An excerpt from the Compendium of History and Biography of Minneapolis and Hennepin County reads: "Mr. Cramer has always taken an interest in sports and outdoor recreation, and is an enthusiastic fisherman and horseman. Mrs. Cramer is popular in the social circles of Minneapolis and the family home on Park Avenue is well known for its hospitality and attractiveness." [2]

Harry and Marie Cramer lived at 3220 Park Avenue with their daughter, Margaret, and her husband, Dentist Harry Lyon, until 1916. The Cramers employed a live-in servant named Ellen Christianson.


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Related Links


1. Compendium of History and Biography of Minneapolis and Hennepin County, Minnesota: H. Taylor & Co., 1914. Pages 438-439.

2. Compendium of History and Biography of Minneapolis and Hennepin County, Minnesota: H. Taylor & Co., 1914. Pages 243-244.

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