Smith-Davidson-Scheffer House, 908 Mound Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Smith-Davidson-Scheffer House

c 1888
Address: 908 Mound Street
Neighborhood/s: Dayton's Bluff, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1850
Primary Style: Greek Revival
Secondary Style: Italianate
Major Alterations: Significant Alterations
Historic Function: House/single dwelling or duplex
Current Function: Sanitarium
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Stone
Material of Roof: Wood
Material of Foundation: Limestone
First Owner: Truman Smith

Dayton's Bluff Saint Paul Ramsey

Smith-Davidson-Scheffer House, 908 Mound Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota
(44.948535° N, 93.060948° WLatitude: 44°56′54.726″N
Longitude: 93°3′39.413″W

Smith-Davidson-Scheffer House/Commodore Davidson House/Mounds Park Rest Home/Mounds Park Residence; Built in 1856 (1850 according to the Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood Association; 1875 according to Ramsey County property tax records.) The structure is a two story, 9484 square foot, nursing home/private hospital. The house was built for John Burns, but before it was completed he went belly up. Truman Smith then purchased it and completed the home.

Truman M. Smith began his career as a banker, also was a realtor and a marble dealer, and was once among the richer men in the city. In 1850, Smith built this house with a commanding view of the Mississippi River. He had a love of gardening and his home site was adorned with a variety of flowers. In 1856, Smith was one of 11 realtors in business in St. Paul, including Lyman Dayton, according to a trade directory. He had t obe forceable evicted from the home. He attempted in a series of legal moves to save the home but was unsuccessful and forclosure set in. In 1860, Smith grew an acre of grapes. Truman M. Smith started a nursery on Dayton's Bluff, St. Paul, in 1866, selling hardy roses, fruit plants and evergreens. Along with many others, Smith was wiped out in the 1857 financial panic, his house went on the auction block, and his career as a banker was over. To survive, Smith turned his green thumb into a livelihood and was soon a major garden farmer, put out a catalog that listed a wide selection of small fruits and other plants for sale, had a vineyard of 5,000 well trained vines, and raised ten varieties of pears, 30 different types of apples, and nearly 40 types of grapes. Smith moved to San Diego, California, in 1888, but died in 1909 in St. Paul.

The house was subsequently owned by W. Davidson, who had a glassed-in pilot house built on top of the house, but since removed. After the house had fallen into disrepair, was won in a $5 raffle by a Dr. Murphy, was owned by banker Albert Scheffer from 1886 to 1899, and became a military academy, Mrs. Mildred Evans restored the house in the 1940's and operated the Mounds Park Rest Home at this address.

Commodore "Fuse" Davidson (1825-1887) and the late Wash Honsehll started steamboating together as deckhands on a small boat called the "Resist," plying between Portsmouth and Catlettsburg, Kentucky. Both died millionaires, with Davidson worth four million dollars at his death.

Albert Scheffer who was president of the German American Bank later purchased the modest stone house and added the EastLake style decoration on the home turning it into an elaborate show peice.

By the 1940s it had been subdivided into apartments and the address was changed. The huge lot that the home once sat on had been subdivided by this time.


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