Patrick and Fannie O'Brien House, 194 McBoal Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Patrick and Fannie O'Brien House

Patrick & Fannie O'Brien House, 2010
Address: 194 McBoal Street
Neighborhood/s: Uppertown, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1877
Primary Style: Italianate
Major Alterations: Intact
Historic Function: House/single dwelling or duplex
Current Function: House/single dwelling or duplex
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Wood
Material of Roof: Asphalt
Material of Foundation: Limestone
First Owner: Patrick and Fannie O'Brien

Uppertown Saint Paul Ramsey County

Patrick and Fannie O'Brien House, 194 McBoal Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota
(44.9386439° N, 93.1083249° WLatitude: 44°56′19.118″N
Longitude: 93°6′29.97″W

This vernacular Italianate house was built for Patrick and Fannie O'Brien in the autumn of 1877. Before their marriage in April of that year, Fannie operated a dressmaking shop in Hudson, Wisconsin employing 17 women. Patrick served as Chief Clerk and later Assistant U.S. Postmaster of the St. Paul post office from 1870 to 1924. With the aid of their Norwegian servant, Mary Whitcalf, the couple raised six children and kept one gentleman boarder in this house before moving in 1889 to the "suburban" West Side of St. Paul immediately across the newly constructed Smith Avenue High Bridge. The house sold for $7,500--a lofty price in 1889. The next owners were Cecilia and William Diederich, an older couple of some means who employed an Irish servant named Catherine Churchill. William, who was born in Beverung, Westphalia (Germany), owned a liquor wholesale business on Wabasha Street in St. Paul and died in the house on February 8, 1904. Cecelia Diederich continued living in the house until 1908, at which time the house was sold and divided into apartments and served as rental housing for nearly ninety years. Over that time, more than 130 people--most of them children--called this their home. In the early years of the Great Depression, two families (one of which included twelve children) occupied two downstairs apartments while a third family lived upstairs.



From 1995-1998, Tom and Ann Schroeder restored the house to its original single-family configuration, reconstructing the front porch based on physical and photographic evidence of the original porch. John H. Yust, AIA, served as project architect throughout. Their work received a Preservation Award from the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission in 1999, and was featured in the HGTV program "Restore America" in 2000.

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