(Videos) Stillwater’s South Hill Walking Tour: The Chestnut Hill Loop

The city of Stillwater has posted the 18-part video series about the storied South Hill on YouTube.

The Heritage Preservation Commission commissioned Dan Hoisington to create the self-guided walking tour of prominent South Hill homes and buildings.

Download the South Hill Walking Tour videos.

The South Hill tour is made up of two loops — the Pine Street and Chestnut Hill loops — each completed in about an hour.

Here is the video tour of the Chestnut Hill loop:

“Henry M. Nichols came to Minnesota in 1852 as president of the Northampton (Massachusetts) Colony, a group of around seventy-five people looking to settle in “the New England of the West.” Nichols served as minister at the First Presbyterian church in Stillwater from 1853 to 1859. When other opportunities came his way in 1857, local businessmen offered Nichols a new home as an incentive to remain in Stillwater. He chose a plan using Gothic Revival architecture — a style popular between 1850 and 1870. Henry Nichols left Stillwater within a few years, accepting a pastorate in Minneapolis.” — (Video description by city of Stillwater)

“A native of Sweden, Alexander Johnson arrived in Stillwater in 1858, and quickly established himself as one of the city’s most successful lumbermen. In 1869 Johnson joined with local investors to establish the McKusick, Anderson, & Company, building a sawmill just across the St. Croix River. He lived on this property beginning in 1879, offering him a clear view of his mill. In 1894-95, Alexander erected this new house. Johnson died on March 20, 1905, eulogized as “a good citizen, a good friend, and a Christian gentleman.” — (Video description by city of Stillwater)

“Like many of Stillwater’s early lumbermen, John O’Brien was born in Maine, coming to Stillwater in 1853. In 1870 John organized a logging company with his brother, soon joined by another partner, James Anderson. This Queen Anne house, designed by architect Frederick Sturnegk, was built in 1884, and described by the St. Paul Globe as “one of the finest and most commodious private dwelling houses in the city.” In 1896 the O’Briens added major additions on the west and north sides.” — (Video description by city of Stillwater)

“One of the many German immigrants to Stillwater was Anton Krenz. Anton was a masonry contractor and worked on many of the city’s major construction projects. His home, built in 1874, is a testament to his skill as a bricklayer. The house is an excellent example of the Italianate style with its box-like form, the shallow hip roof, and the arched windows with brick hoods, brackets under the eaves, and wooden sills. The house remained in the family until 1955.” — (Video description by city of Stillwater)

“Born in Stillwater in September 1869, and son of Anton, August worked for most of his life as a mail carrier. On his retirement in 1934, the Stillwater Gazette said, “Since January 1, 1900, Gus has carried the mail. So regular were his habits that one could almost set his clock when he went by.” A few years after he began that career, August and Olive moved into this house in 1903. Its look suggests the Stick style, with its wood cross bands, jerkin roof, and patterned shingles.” — (Video description by city of Stillwater)

“John Booren was born in Sweden and came to Stillwater in 1858. John and his wife, Sarah, ran a popular hotel in town, catering to young immigrants. When the Boorens built this home in 1886, they turned to a fellow Swede, August Jackson, a carpenter and contractor. The house reflects the influence of the Queen Anne style, with its slightly protruding window bays on both sides, decorative shingling in the gable ends, and the wrap-around porch. Booren died in 1918.” — (Video description by city of Stillwater)

“Fred Yates, a native of Indiana, came north to Stillwater after the Civil War and built a career as a bookkeeper for the city’s lumbermen, first working for Jacob Bean, later as Cashier for the St. Croix Lumbermen’s Board of Trade and Surveyor of Logs. This house was built in 1889. Its design uses elements of the Stick style of architecture, with a steeply pitched cross gable roof, the decorative truss at the apex of the front gable, as well as the raised horizontal and vertical bands.” — (Video description by city of Stillwater)

“Henry Clay Farmer began his career as a liveryman, hauling passengers and goods from the railroad depot to homes and local businesses. He shifted his interests to the automobile and opened one of Stillwater’s first garages. In 1896 Farmer hired local contractor William Bieging to build this house. It uses several motifs of the Classical Revival style, including the Palladian window in the upper gable end, the refined Ionic columns on the porch, and, to shelter arrivals by horse or engine, a porte-cochère on the south side.” — (Video description by city of Stillwater)

“This dwelling was constructed circa 1916 for Harry R. and Mae Farmer. Harry followed in his father’s tracks, operating a garage and later working in the local Ford dealership. The house is an example of the Craftsman style popular in the early twentieth century, featuring wide eaves with exposed rafters and triangular braces.” — (Video description by city of Stillwater)

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