A 19th-century house at the center of a preservation-vs.-progress debate in the city of Anoka will be saved.
A young couple — with up to $15,000 in aid from the city — will buy and move the 1880s house that Anoka offered to sell for $1, with the caveat that it had to be moved.
Erik and Amanda Skogquist of Anoka will purchase the house at 210 Monroe St., move it down the street to 314 Monroe, and fix it up. The house currently at 314 Monroe is condemned and will be demolished.
Anoka’s Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) bought the 210 Monroe property a year ago for $190,000 and wants to clear the lot in order to build a parking structure. Pressed by local preservationists who wanted the house saved, the agency decided to accept bids on it and set a July 31 deadline. The minimum bid was $1.
The Skogquists were the only ones to bite. They asked the city for some financial help to move the house, and this month, the HRA agreed to chip in up to $15,000 — the amount it would have cost to tear the house down.
“I was very happy and encouraged,” said Erik Skogquist, who grew up in the historic neighborhood. His mother, Barbara Thurston, is on the city’s heritage preservation commission.
“I think it’s really important,” said Skogquist about the city’s decision. “One of the unique things about Anoka is having houses like that. The character and feel of the city gets retained.”
After months of hand-wringing about what to do with the house, the HRA is satisfied with the result, too.
“We felt that was certainly a fair compromise,” said HRA Chairman Carl Youngquist. “I think everyone felt good about the final outcome. We are spending $15,000 to move it and not $15,000 to knock it down. We are excited about the fact it’s going to be moved. It will be moved to an area where it will fit. It will not stand alone. It’s in a historic part of Anoka.”
The house has historic curb appeal but it’s been through a series of renovations and additions. It was subdivided into four apartments. Its interior is shag carpet and paneling. But it is a good example of the Italianate style, one preservationist noted years ago.
“Preserving this house will help Anoka maintain a piece of its unique housing stock while keeping it in a historic neighborhood,” said Anoka Housing Manager Darin Berger.
Crews will move it next spring, Skogquist said, and he and his wife will slowly renovate it. Skogquist anticipated it will take five to 10 years to complete all the work.
Erik Skogquist is a property assessor for municipalities. Amanda Skogquist is an educator who now stays home with their son.