A house that began its life in the 19th century may yet see a good bit of the 21st century. The two-story brick structure at the corner of 18th Avenue and Tyler Street NE has stood for 120 years, almost all of that time in the hands of one family. The property has been in the sights of both developers and preservationists since its sale in 2014 by the last surviving Colberg family member.
At the March 12 Northeast Park Neighborhood Association meeting, 1st Ward City Council Member Kevin Reich announced that he intended to submit an application for historical designation for the structure, referring to it as, “The brick building that we’ve talked about over the years that’s languishing at Tyler Street.”
The house, built before 1900, was identified by consultants Mead & Hunt in the 2004 Northeast Minneapolis Historic Resources Inventory as likely eligible for local designation.
Reich said that the building at 948 18th Ave. NE has had an initial analysis that said it could already qualify, so it’s had a preliminary thumbs-up on two of the seven criteria for the designation as a landmark. Criterion 1 says that the property should be associated with significant events or with periods that exemplify broad patterns of cultural, political, economic or social history; the building thus may be eligible for local designation as “a notable example of a dwelling associated with the period of early neighborhood development in Northeast Minneapolis.”
Criterion 4 says that the property should embody the distinctive characteristics of an architectural or engineering type or style, or method of construction. Thus, “The building may qualify as a significant example of [a] Queen Anne style brick home constructed during the late 19th century in Northeast Minneapolis.” The property may be eligible for landmark designation under one or more of the other five design criteria, based on an analysis done as part of a designation study.
The consultants described the property as a two-and-one-half story brick Queen Anne-style residence with a two-story bay on the northeast corner of the building, a gable-roof dormer, and quoins and decorative woodwork. The description said that the property appears to “retain good integrity” especially in relation to location, design and material. It was also noted, “The building has suffered from notable wear over time but retains sufficient integrity to communicate its history and historic use as a late nineteenth century Queen Anne home and its association with the early development of Northeast Minneapolis.”
The building has been a duplex almost from its beginning. There was an adjoining single-family house to the west, but it has been demolished.
Neighborhood block Leader Mandy Tempel, on whose block the building is located, said, “We have some squatters there, again, and we’ve had some issues with the property owners. There’s also a boat near the garage. The owners said they’re aware of the boat, but have not claimed ownership of it. For our neighbors, if you have concerns about safety, call 911; for overgrowth, graffiti, and lack of snow removal, call 311. The longer we wait for a decision, the more damage will take place inside. Some work was done by the last owner, and I’d hate to see it backslide because there are intruders in the place.”
The house was bought in 2014 by a private owner who made some repairs, but it has been unoccupied since then. Its most recent sale was to Master Properties, part of 1717 Developers, which also owns the opposite property at 1717 Central Ave (formerly a daycare center and before that, a Burger King). About that property, Tempel said that there have been compliance issues with the owners about sewage lines and the maintenance of an alley wall.
Tempel added, “The consensus around the neighborhood is that this property should be preserved if at all possible.” She said she has 50-100 people willing to sign a petition, if needed. Reich asked the association to create a letter with its letterhead about the consensus of the neighborhood about preserving the property. He added that he will get a staff update on the matter within two weeks.
Below: 948 18th Ave. NE (Photo by Mark Peterson)