House History

Do you want to know the history of a house or know who was the architect, builder, or previous owner of the house? Are you searching to find out if a house has historic value?

Use this pathfinder to find resources at the Saint Paul Public Library that may help you with your search.

Most of the items listed are available in the Nicholson Information Commons at the Central Library.

Start Here

Drafting a House History
In-depth introduction to researching a house history, compiled by University of Minnesota librarians.

Primary Resources

House History Handifile
First section of the handifile is by street address; second section is by the name of the house, which is usually that of the first owner. Located at the Nicholson Information Commons reference desk.

House History Notebook
A collection of articles and other materials on how to research house history. Located at the Nicholson Information Commons reference desk.

Secondary Resources

Subject Guide to the Saint Paul Collection
Located at the Nicholson Information Commons reference desk. Last updated in 1982, but can still provide guidance to much of the collection.

Historic St. Paul Buildings
FS-460 .K78H or F614 .S4K7
Photographs, architectural information, architect's name, owners and construction dates of many St. Paul houses.

Saint Paul Architecture
FS-90 .A4S37 or NA735 .S3S3
Descriptions of what types of house and when they were built for many St. Paul neighborhoods. Contains many photographs of individual houses and descriptions of some.

A Guide to the Architecture of Minnesota
NA730 .M6G3
Short architectural descriptions of many St. Paul homes with a few photographs.

Saint Paul Omnibus: Images of the Changing City
FS-460 .S2 or NA735 .S24S24
Descriptions of individual houses, architectural profiles of neighborhoods including information on additional houses and many photographs.

St. Paul's Historic Summit Avenue
FS-725 .S8S3 or F614 .S4S365
Historic and architectural information on most of the homes on Summit Avenue.

Minnesota Houses: An Architectural & Historical View
FS-740 .K4 or NA7235.M6K4
Many St. Paul houses discussed in the text. Arrangement is by architectural style, with no index.

Historic Sites Survey, St. Paul and Ramsey County. 3 vols.
FS-740 .H58 or F612 .R2H5
Information on all the historic sites in St. Paul. Volume 3 contains information on individual houses.

Building the Future from Our Past
FS-411 .H5O42 or NA108 .S24 O42
Information on the Historic Hill District. There is only a little information on individual houses, but a good deal of information on the development of the neighborhood.

St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch Newspaper Index
FS-312 .S13, 1967 - 1996.
Look under Houses or under the name of the house if it has one.

  • Indexes and microfilm can be found in the Magazine Room on the 3rd Floor of the Central Library.
  • Online coverage begins with 1988.

St. Paul History and Area Business Index
FS-400 .A1S2. Index to clipping files available on microfilmed aperture cards. Search under Houses, names of famous houses, and names of individuals.

Minneapolis Star and Tribune Index
AI21 .M3, 1971-1986.
Occasionally articles on St. Paul houses would appear. Search under Houses-SP.

  • Indexes and microfilm can be found in the Magazine Room on the 3rd Floor of the Central Library.
  • Online coverage begins in 1986.

Ramsey County History Index
FS-410 .R2 INDEX, 1964-1972. The best things to look under are the names of the houses and names of people. There are a few listings under Houses. Later issues are indexed in the St. Paul Subject Handifile or the Minnesota Magazine Index (1991 - 2005). Tables of contents are also available online.

Our Minnesota Index
F601 .O8. An index to the Minnesota periodical collection in the South St. Paul Library covering approximately 1965-1975.
Try St. Paul--Historic Houses, Minnesota--Historic Houses, Historic Houses, Houses, and names of famous people for information about their houses.

Minnesota History Index
Ref F601 .M63 INDEX 1915-1929, F601 .M63C 1930-1967. References are to volumes and then page numbers.
Use the headings Houses and the names of people. Later issues are indexed in the St. Paul Subject Handifile.

Architecture of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: Journal Articles, 1980-1988
FS-245 .A7C39 1990. A bibliography of articles that appeared in architectural journals over an 8-year period.
The great majority of articles cover modern construction and commercial or public buildings, but some articles on houses appear.

St. Paul Subject Handifile
References to parts of books, magazines, newspapers, newspaper clippings, etc. Look under Houses and under names of houses. Located in the Nicholson Information Commons.

St. Paul City Directories
FS-322 .S or Ref F614 .S4A18. 1856-1935 are on microfilm.
Beginning with the 1929 volume there is a listing in the back by street name and then number, which can be used to trace former residents. The names section can then provide more information on that person and sometimes other members of the family.

Dual City Blue Books
FS-322 .D, 1995-1923. A social register of the Twin Cities.
Listings are by street address, but not everyone is listed.

St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch Morgue
This is the morgue clipping file of the Pioneer Press. Arrangement is in four separate files, each covering a different time period.
Try Houses--St. Paul, St. Paul--Houses, Construction--St. Paul, neighborhood names, etc.

Discovering Your Home's History from the Minnesota Historical Society

Library Catalog
Some books on individual houses are in the collection and may be found by searching for the name of the house as a subject.

Other Resources

Ramsey County Historical Society Library and Archives

  • Building permits, photo archives, directory of architects, and historic site surveys.

Minnesota Historical Society

Ramsey County Property Records and Revenue

Neighborhood Histories

Search the library catalog by neighborhood name and/or check the Neighborhood card file in the Nicholson Information Commons.

Photo Collections