William T. Francis House, 2092 Sargent Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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William T. Francis House

Address: 2092 Sargent Avenue
Neighborhood/s: Macalester-Groveland, Saint Paul, Minnesota
City/locality-
State/province
Saint Paul, Minnesota
County-
State/province:
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1923
Primary Style: Prairie School
Building Permit Number: 6356
First Owner: George L. Olson

Macalester-Groveland Saint Paul Ramsey

William T. Francis House, 2092 Sargent Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota
(44.935223° N, 93.18854° WLatitude: 44°56′6.803″N
Longitude: 93°11′18.744″W
)


Contents

History

"The original owner of this house was George L. Olson, a painter who lived at 1727 Juliet Street. […] Beginning in 1924, the house was owned and occupied by William T. Francis, a black attorney and politician. Francis was born in Indianapolis in 1869 and came to St. Paul with his mother in 1888. He studied law at the St. Paul College of Law from 1901-04 and worked for many years in the law department of the Northern Pacific Railway, eventually becoming chief clerk of the office. In 1912 he took over the law practice of Frederick McGhee, the first black man admitted to the bar in Minnesota. In 1924 Francis moved from 606 St. Anthony Avenue to this house in the all-white Groveland Park neighborhood. Soon after he moved, a group of neighbors representing the Cretin Improvement Association began to fund a drive to purchase the house from Francis and reimburse him for it. Francis refused to move. Twice in the months that followed, crosses were burned on Francis' front yard. In 1927 President Coolidge appointed Francis Minister Resident and Consul General to Liberia. He was the only black to hold the rank of Minister in the U.S. Foreign Service at the time. Tragically, he contracted yellow fever and died in 1929.”

(Historic Sites Survey)

Memories and stories

Photo Gallery

Related Links

Notes

    Ramsey County Historical Society, Inventory forms for Historic Sites Survey of St. Paul and Ramsey County, 1980-1983

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