Preston King House, 2400 Stevens Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Preston King House
|Address:||2400 Stevens Avenue S|
|Neighborhood/s:||Whittier, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Hennepin County, Minnesota|
|Historic Function:||House/single dwelling or duplex|
|Architect or source of design:||William Channing Whitney|
|Material of Exterior Wall Covering:||Brick|
|Material of Roof:||Asphalt Shingles|
The property currently houses a youth hostel, The Minneapolis International Hostel (the former City of Lakes International House).
The structure is a 2.5 story, 6636 square foot, seven room, four bathroom, house. This house was built for Preston King, son of Colonel William Smith King (1828-1900), was a flamboyant newspaper publisher, was a member of Congress, and was a promoter of state agricultural fairs. Lyndale Avenue was named after the vast (1,400 acre) farm which bordered Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun in south Minneapolis that was once owned by William S. King. The farm itself was named after William S. King's father, the Reverend Lyndon King.
William S. King was born in Malone, Franklin County, New York, attended the Franklin County common schools, then engaged in agricultural pursuits, then moved to Otsego County, New York, in 1846, and engaged as a solicitor for mutual insurance companies, was the editor of the Free Democrat in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1852, moved to Minneapolis in 1858, was then engaged in journalism (the State Atlas, the Minneapolis Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the Minneapolis Journal) and agricultural pursuits, was the postmaster of the House of Representatives from 1861 to 1865 and from 1867 to 1873, was the surveyor general of logs and lumber in the Second Congressional District of Minnesota in 1874, was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fourth Congress (1875-1877), was engaged in cattle raising near Minneapolis, died in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and was interred in Lakewood Cemetery. William S. King was a member of the Minnesota Agricultural Society in the 1870's who demanded a Minneapolis location for the State Fair. Twin City rivalry then led to competing fairs being held simultaneously in both cities and under King’s leadership, Minneapolis outdid St. Paul with a bigger fair. Finally, in 1884, the Minnesota State Agricultural Society established a committee to negotiate for a permanent location for the fair and two sites emerged, at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and at the 210-acre Ramsey County Poor Farm in Hamline Township, adjacent to St. Paul’s northwest boundary. Ramsey County ended the stalemate by donating its parcel to the agricultural society and the first State Fair was held on the new site in 1885. William S. King erected a grand pavilion at Lake Calhoun in 1877 and later sold it to L. F. Menage, who converted it to a hotel, which later burned. The title "Colonel" appears to have been an honorific, since he did not serve in the Civil War in a Minnesota unit. Orange S. King (1839-1876), the brother of William S. King, was a veteran of the First Minnesota Regiment during the Civil War, was wounded in the eye and then captured at Bull Run, was discharged in 1862, and worked in Minneapolis as a printer, at The State Atlas, a newspaper owned by his brother, until he died of consumption.
Preston King joined the seed firm of Northrup, Braslow & Goodwin. In 1885 and 1886, William S. King and Caroline M. "Carrie" King were involved in litigation in the Minnesota Supreme Court real property case of William S. King, vs. Philo Remington, Caroline A. Remington, Robert S. Innes, Louis F. Menage and Amanda A. Menage. William S. King and Caroline M. King owed money that they had borrowed to buy large tracts of land in Minnesota, including the Lyndale Farm, and with creditors hounding them, the Kings convinced a New York financier, Philo Remington, to advance them $120,000 to pay off their debts in return for turning over management of their properties, including Lyndale Farm and shares in the Pioneer Press that Caroline King owned, with Robert S. Innes as trustee, but Remington never advanced the money and the Kings filed bankruptcy, and Remington fraudulently sold Menage Lyndale Farm. The west side of Lake Calhoun was already owned in the early 1880's by Louis Menage, so it is easy to see why Menage was willing to buy up King's debt and foreclose on the farm. In subsequent litigation, the Kings prevailed and were awarded $2 million from Menage, who then sold fictitious Minneapolis real estate mortgages in the Eastern third party market, a fraud that resulted in his indictment when the Panic of 1893 occurred and the creditors attempted to foreclose on those mortgages, and causing Menage to flee to Guatemala. Louis Menage (1850-1924) was born in Rhode Island, moved to Minnesota to cure his "weak lungs," was a developer who platted Prospect Park as a Minneapolis subdivision in 1885, and died in New Brunswick. Louis Menage, real-estate tycoon, financier, mortgage banker, patron of the arts and sciences, and civic visionary, a man of of deep faith and lax ethics, also built the Guaranty Loan Building in 1890, the first skyscraper located west of Chicago, featuring twelve stories of red granite and lacy wrought iron. Menage was the author of the "Menage forfeiture clause," added to almost every title on land he sold in Minneapolis, that provided that any purchaser who knowingly or unknowingly allowed the sale of liquor to occur on his property would automatically forfeit the title to the property back to Menage or his descendents, and functioned to vex city residents until an exasperated Legislature passed a law in 1937 specifically voiding the clause.
The "Menage forfeiture clause" was not included, however, in the title to the property Menage sold to the developers who built the Minikahda Country Club. In 1884, Jesse Erastus Northrup and Charles P. Braslan started the company known as Northrup, Braslan & Company, as a wholesaler and retailer of agricultural and garden seeds. In 1887, A. H. Goodwin joined the firm, and it was renamed Northrup, Braslan & Goodwin Co. Colonel W. S. King and his son, Preston King, brought in much needed financial support in 1894, but, in 1896, a fire destroyed a company building and the company declared bankruptcy. Upon reorganization, the firm changed its name to Northrup King in 1897, when Preston King became its secretary/treasurer, a position he held until his death in 1919.
Charles C. Massie became president in 1914, after the death of Preston King and the retirement of J. E. Northrup, with Lyndon M. King as vice president.
Northrup King’s board of directors made a public stock offering in the fall of 1968. The company was purchased in 1976 by Sandoz, Ltd., of Basle, Switzerland. In 1993, a group of employees and investors bought the consumer products division of Northrup, King & Co. Jesse Erastus Northrup was the son of Elijah Sears Northrup ( -1863,) a Michigan State Senator who died in Lansing, Michigan, and the great grandson of Elijah Northrup, a Revolutionary War veteran, and Amy Williams Northrup. Jesse Erastus Northrup's children were Sarah Florence Northrup (1878- ) and Edwin Barcele Northrup (1883- .)
The house was then occupied by William Sweatt, the founder and president of Honeywell, and Jessie Sweatt, his wife. Honeywell can trace its roots back to 1885, when an inventor named Albert Butz patented the furnace regulator and alarm. He formed the Butz Thermo-Electric Regulator Company, in Minneapolis, in 1886. William R. Sweatt arrived in Minneapolis from Fargo, North Dakota, in 1891. He started the Sweatt Manufacturing Company, building wooden wheelbarrows, grocery boxes, and wooden washing machines at a factory in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. Sweatt invested in the Consolidated Temperature Controlling Company at about this time, and was given a seat on its board of directors.
The Consolidated Temperature Controlling Co., Incorporated, acquired Butz's patents and business, and by 1893, had renamed itself Electric Heat Regulator Company. In 1898, the company was purchased by W. R. Sweatt, who, by 1916, had changed the name of the company to Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company. In 1904, a young engineer named Mark Honeywell, was perfecting the heat generator as part of his plumbing and heating business. In 1906, he formed the Honeywell Heating Specialty Company, Incorporated. In 1927, the Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company and the Honeywell Heating Specialty Company merged to form the Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company, and became the largest producer of high-quality jeweled clocks. W. R. Sweatt became chairman and Mark Honeywell became president. Minneapolis-Honeywell became a defense contractor in 1940. Of particular note was its development of an electronic autopilot, which came to be used on all types of U. S. bombers during World War II. The company's name was officially changed to Honeywell Inc. in 1963.
Harold W. Sweatt (1892-1980) was a former chairman of the board of Honeywell, Inc. Charles B. Sweatt was Harold Sweatt's brother. Jessie Sweatt was W. R. Sweatt's wife and the mother of Harold Sweatt and Charles Sweatt. The 1917 Catalogue of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, published by James T. Brown of New York, indicated that Charles Baxter Sweatt, who received a bachelors degree from the University of Minnesota in 1916, resided at this address and that Harold Wilson Sweatt, who received a bachelors degree from the University of Minnesota in 1913 and was vice president of the Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company, resided at 2747 Fourth Avenue South. The University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology has established two endowed chairs, the Harold Sweatt Chair in Technological Leadership, held by Masoud Amin, and the William Sweatt Visiting Land Grant Chair in Technological Leadership, held by Rias van Wyck. Honeywell Inc. merged with AlliedSignal Inc., of Morris Township, New Jersey, in 1999, with Lawrence A. Bossidy, chairman, and Michael R. Bonsignore, CEO. In 1935, the home was drastically altered to become a rooming house. In 1909, Jessie Sweatt and W. R. Sweatt resided at 1729 Park Avenue. 
- The 1910 city directory indicates that Preston King, treasurer of Northrup, King & Company, resided at this address and that Lyndon M. King boarded at this address.
- The 1915 city directory indicates that Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Sweatt and H. W. Sweatt resided at this address.
- The 1923 city directory indicates that Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Sweatt and C. P. Sweatt resided at this address.
- Preston King (1923-1991) was born in Minnesota, had a mother with a maiden name of Abbott, and died in Hennepin County.