Homes

January, 2009       Grace and Cliff Clark House,  718 4th St. E., Northfield, MN. 55057

Our house was built in 1917 for the custodian of the Carleton Chapel.   The style was often called Craftsman and sometimes four-square because the basic shape of the house started out as a 26 foot square footprint to which was added a front porch, a dining room bay window, and a one-story back room (bedroom or study) on the first floor.  Like the bungalows on the same street, the roof line comes down over the edges of the second floor to lower the overall house profile. The design creates a large dormer in the front and the back.  Like the bungalow design as well, the roof overhang is pronounced and is supported by large brackets.  The house has oak flooring and trim on the first floor, except in the kitchen where the flooring is maple, and maple floors and pine trim on the second floor.

View of home from SW
View of home from South

The house was built in the Highland Park addition along East Fourth Street on lots that were platted and sold by William W. Pye, who was a local lawyer and built the English Revival Craftsman house at 615 Fourth Street East.  Houses in this addition were all set back forty feet from the street and eighteen feet from the side property line. The setbacks give this section of East Fourth Street a distinctive look. The house was built by a father and son carpenter team with woodwork ordered through the local lumber yard.  A single-car, detached garage was added in the 1950s.

The original house had three bedrooms and a full bath on the second floor, a living-room with small built-in book cases and French doors connecting to the front hall, a dining-room with built-in buffet a craftsman kitchen with a wall sink and small gas stove, small pantry, and back entry porch. The original kitchen contained no counters or cupboards.  Seven doors opened into it.  The basement originally contained a large hot air coal furnace (replaced in the 1950s), a laundry room, a pantry, a coal storage room, and a cistern for soft rain water, a necessity before water softeners became available.

The original house color was white with grey trim and a green roof.  The Clarks changed the color to yellow in the 1980s with white trim and changed the roof color to mixed slate in 2006 after it had been damaged by the major hailstorm that hit the town that year.

The house was purchased in 1923 by Peter Olesen and Anna Dickie Olesen (later Birge).  Olesen, originally from Denmark, had been the superintendant of schools in Pine City and Cloquet, Minnesota.  He came to Northfield in 1923 to become a Professor of German and College Registrar.  They had one daughter, Mary, who married a naval official and lived in Washington, D.C..

Anna Dickie was active in Democratic Party politics, the Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the League of Women Voters.  In 1920 she served as floor manager for William Gibbs McAdoo (son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson) a candidate for President at the Democratic National Convention.  In 1932, she served as a delegate at large at that year’s Democratic National convention and made one of the nomination seconding speeches for John Nance Garner, candidate for vice president.  The following year, she was named acting postmaster general in Northfield but left that position shortly to serve as Minnesota state director on the National Emergency Council of the NRA.  She was influential in getting a new Post Office built in Northfield in 1936. In the house, she had signed photographs from Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Olesen died in 1960. In 1961 Anna Dickie married C.A. Burge. He died the following year in Georgia.  She died on May 21, 1971.

The Olesens purchased the crystal chandeliers on the first floor and upstairs bedrooms in Czechoslovakia in 1936. Burge also had the interior plaster walls of the house sheetrocked over the plaster, and a pinchbeam install in the attic to raise a sagging bedroom ceiling.

View of living room and fireplace
View of living room and fireplace

Anna Dickie’s brother (85), from Waterville, MN, sold the house to Clifford and Grace Clark in 1971.  The Clarks remodeled the kitchen, installing a stained glass window in the kitchen that had been salvaged when the Odd Fellows Main Lodge was torn down in the early 1970s.  They remodeled the upstairs bathroom in 1971 and changed over all the plumbing to copper that year. They also upgraded the electrical service and added new circuits to the upstairs.  Following a pattern used in the Old First Congregational Church in Bennington, Vermont, near where the Clark family has a summer house, they built and installed a white fence around the back of their property.

The Clark house property was originally bordered by 9 large parkway elm trees that had been planted along the streets in the 1930s as part of a city beautification program in honor of George Washington’s birthday celebration.  As the Dutch elm disease spread through town in the early 1970s, the Clarks were involved in the treatment program and later, with the help of Clark Webster and Ed Buchwald and the Boy Scouts, helped the city of Northfield adopt a parkway tree replacement Program.  The Clark property has one of the oldest and tallest white pine trees in the city.  Since they have owned the house, they have planted two additional white pines, a hemlock, a Korean pear,  ten aborvitaes, two weeping Siberian spruce, three ginkoes, two scotch pines, a maple, a hackberry, a linden, and two weeping larches. They had a large green ash tree moved from its position in front of the Grand Theater where it was scheduled to be cut down to the front of their house in 1985.

In 1985, they added an exit window in the basement and a shower and bathroom.

In 1989 they upgraded the furnace, and added air-conditioning.  In 1991, they created a family room addition with a bedroom/study underneath and changed the first floor back room to a full bathroom,  The kitchen was remodeled, the pantry removed, and a bay window added.  The work was done by River City Builders and the addition was designed by Steve Edwins, A.I.A. . The woodwork was designed by the Clarks and the built-ins of Honduras mahogany were made by Steven Hodgson.  The Clarks did all the finish work, the painting, the installation of the trim molding and the oak floor.  Some of the design motifs for the woodwork were taken from the Gamble House in Pasadena, California, designed by Greene and Greene.  The rooms were featured in Come Home: Ideas for Comfortable Living from Andersen Windows (Fall, 1995).

A new patio sliding door in an older  home
A new patio sliding door in an older home

The back addition is fronted by a Japanese garden feature on the Elm street side that was designed and built by Jim Fisher who is head of grounds at St. Olaf College. It serves as a berm around the window well for the basement bedroom/study.

In 1992 all the upstairs windows were replaced by energy efficient Andersen Windows. The window glass in the new addition windows failed in 2001 and they were replaced by Andersen.

View of dining room
View of dining room

In 1995, a Japanese garden was designed by their son Christopher in the back yard with a water feature, a stream, and a small pool.  The Clarks installed it themselves with the help of Lyle Koester.  The largest rock weighs 5000 pounds.  They also built and installed the two Japanese garden features in the front of the house.

In 2007, the garage was remodeled into a two-car garage following a design by the Clarks.

Both Cliff and Grace Clark have been active in the town.  Cliff is Professor of History and M.A. & A.D. Hulings Professor of American Studies at Carleton College since 1970.  He served on the Northfield School Board from 1975 to 1984, on the Heritage Preservation Commission from 1984 to 2009, and on various city planning committees. In 1976 he helped write a history of the town entitled Continuum and in 1999, with Carole Zellie, he wrote Northfield, the History and Architecture of a Community. He is the author of The American Family Home, 1800-1960 (1986) and editor of Minnesota in a Century of Change: the State and Its People Since 1900 (1989).   Grace is an Occupational Therapists who has worked in local nursing homes and in the Northfield and Faribault School Districts.  She has served as the treasurer of the Northfield Swim Club and on the Northfield Park Board, where she helped oversee the building of a new community pool in 2007.  She is also on the board of NESNA (Northfield’s East Side Neighborhood Association).  They have three grown children and four grandchildren. Their son lives in Northfield with his wife and two daughters.

The house was built in the Highland Park addition along East Fourth Street on lots that were platted and sold by William W. Pye, who was a local lawyer and built the English Revival Craftsman house at 615 Fourth Street East.  Houses in this addition were all set back forty feet from the street and eighteen feet from the side property line. The setbacks give this section of East Fourth Street a distinctive look. The house was built by a father and son carpenter team with woodwork ordered through the local lumber yard.  A single-car, detached garage was added in the 1950s.

The original house had three bedrooms and a full bath on the second floor, a living-room with small built-in book cases and French doors connecting to the front hall, a dining-room with built-in buffet a craftsman kitchen with a wall sink and small gas stove, small pantry, and back entry porch. The original kitchen contained no counters or cupboards.  Seven doors opened into it.  The basement originally contained a large hot air coal furnace (replaced in the 1950s), a laundry room, a pantry, a coal storage room, and a cistern for soft rain water, a necessity before water softeners became available.

The original house color was white with grey trim and a green roof.  The Clarks changed the color to yellow in the 1980s with white trim and changed the roof color to mixed slate in 2006 after it had been damaged by the major hailstorm that hit the town that year.

The house was purchased in 1923 by Peter Olesen and Anna Dickie Olesen (later Birge).  Olesen, originally from Denmark, had been the superintendant of schools in Pine City and Cloquet, Minnesota.  He came to Northfield in 1923 to become a Professor of German and College Registrar.  They had one daughter, Mary, who married a naval official and lived in Washington, D.C..

Anna Dickie was active in Democratic Party politics, the Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the League of Women Voters.  In 1920 she served as floor manager for William Gibbs McAdoo (son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson) a candidate for President at the Democratic National Convention.  In 1932, she served as a delegate at large at that year’s Democratic National convention and made one of the nomination seconding speeches for John Nance Garner, candidate for vice president.  The following year, she was named acting postmaster general in Northfield but left that position shortly to serve as Minnesota state director on the National Emergency Council of the NRA.  She was influential in getting a new Post Office built in Northfield in 1936. In the house, she had signed photographs from Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Olesen died in 1960. In 1961 Anna Dickie married C.A. Burge. He died the following year in Georgia.  She died on May 21, 1971.

The Olesens purchased the crystal chandeliers on the first floor and upstairs bedrooms in Czechoslovakia in 1936. Burge also had the interior plaster walls of the house sheetrocked over the plaster, and a pinchbeam install in the attic to raise a sagging bedroom ceiling.

View of living room and fireplace
View of living room and fireplace

Anna Dickie’s brother (85), from Waterville, MN, sold the house to Clifford and Grace Clark in 1971.  The Clarks remodeled the kitchen, installing a stained glass window in the kitchen that had been salvaged when the Odd Fellows Main Lodge was torn down in the early 1970s.  They remodeled the upstairs bathroom in 1971 and changed over all the plumbing to copper that year. They also upgraded the electrical service and added new circuits to the upstairs.  Following a pattern used in the Old First Congregational Church in Bennington, Vermont, near where the Clark family has a summer house, they built and installed a white fence around the back of their property.

The Clark house property was originally bordered by 9 large parkway elm trees that had been planted along the streets in the 1930s as part of a city beautification program in honor of George Washington’s birthday celebration.  As the Dutch elm disease spread through town in the early 1970s, the Clarks were involved in the treatment program and later, with the help of Clark Webster and Ed Buchwald and the Boy Scouts, helped the city of Northfield adopt a parkway tree replacement Program.  The Clark property has one of the oldest and tallest white pine trees in the city.  Since they have owned the house, they have planted two additional white pines, a hemlock, a Korean pear,  ten aborvitaes, two weeping Siberian spruce, three ginkoes, two scotch pines, a maple, a hackberry, a linden, and two weeping larches. They had a large green ash tree moved from its position in front of the Grand Theater where it was scheduled to be cut down to the front of their house in 1985.

In 1985, they added an exit window in the basement and a shower and bathroom.

In 1989 they upgraded the furnace, and added air-conditioning.  In 1991, they created a family room addition with a bedroom/study underneath and changed the first floor back room to a full bathroom,  The kitchen was remodeled, the pantry removed, and a bay window added.  The work was done by River City Builders and the addition was designed by Steve Edwins, A.I.A. . The woodwork was designed by the Clarks and the built-ins of Honduras mahogany were made by Steven Hodgson.  The Clarks did all the finish work, the painting, the installation of the trim molding and the oak floor.  Some of the design motifs for the woodwork were taken from the Gamble House in Pasadena, California, designed by Greene and Greene.  The rooms were featured in Come Home: Ideas for Comfortable Living from Andersen Windows (Fall, 1995).

A new patio sliding door in an older  home
A new patio sliding door in an older home

The back addition is fronted by a Japanese garden feature on the Elm street side that was designed and built by Jim Fisher who is head of grounds at St. Olaf College. It serves as a berm around the window well for the basement bedroom/study.

In 1992 all the upstairs windows were replaced by energy efficient Andersen Windows. The window glass in the new addition windows failed in 2001 and they were replaced by Andersen.

View of dining room
View of dining room

In 1995, a Japanese garden was designed by their son Christopher in the back yard with a water feature, a stream, and a small pool.  The Clarks installed it themselves with the help of Lyle Koester.  The largest rock weighs 5000 pounds.  They also built and installed the two Japanese garden features in the front of the house.

In 2007, the garage was remodeled into a two-car garage following a design by the Clarks.

Both Cliff and Grace Clark have been active in the town.  Cliff is Professor of History and M.A. & A.D. Hulings Professor of American Studies at Carleton College since 1970.  He served on the Northfield School Board from 1975 to 1984, on the Heritage Preservation Commission from 1984 to 2009, and on various city planning committees. In 1976 he helped write a history of the town entitled Continuum and in 1999, with Carole Zellie, he wrote Northfield, the History and Architecture of a Community. He is the author of The American Family Home, 1800-1960 (1986) and editor of Minnesota in a Century of Change: the State and Its People Since 1900 (1989).   Grace is an Occupational Therapists who has worked in local nursing homes and in the Northfield and Faribault School Districts.  She has served as the treasurer of the Northfield Swim Club and on the Northfield Park Board, where she helped oversee the building of a new community pool in 2007.  She is also on the board of NESNA (Northfield’s East Side Neighborhood Association).  They have three grown children and four grandchildren. Their son lives in Northfield with his wife and two daughters.

August 20, 2009–Headley House, 815 E. 2nd St.

https://apps.carleton.edu/campus/headleyhouse/

Headley House, at the corner of First St. and Elm St. in northeast Northfield,  is a fine example of the craftsman style of home architecture.     The history of this home has been illustrated in the web site above, which is maintained by Char Hamblin, the Carleton coordinator in charge.    Here is a recent photo of Char, seated on the north porch of the house, which reveals artistic touches such as the plaques set into the walls.    CharleneHamblin05(2)

Click on the link above to take a tour of this handsome home and review its history.       Ed

A Block-by-Block Listing of NESNA Homes

 

We thought NESNA members might be interested in who owns the homes in their neighborhood,  whether next door, across the street, or farther away.   Thus we offer this comprehensive listing, beginning with the current map of NESNA, which you can enlarge as needed, using the toolbar at the lower right.    You can also download this map.

NESNA Map

 

We’ve arbitrarily numbered the 34 blocks in this neighborhood in red.   We’ve indicated those properties not occupied by single families in blue highlight   (rental, business, college-owned properties, churches etc.)  The small numbers indicate street addresses.

Here is a sample of what a detailed photo of homes might look like.   It happens to be my own block,  14.   Photos for each block begin in the upper left corner and go clockwise around that block.

BLOCK 14

And here, for good measure,  is one more block:

BLOCK 19

 

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