A historic brownstone row house on Summit Avenue has hit the market, just a few doors down from famed author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s former St. Paul apartment.
The home on the market and Fitzgerald’s former home are part of Summit Terrace, an eight-unit structure designed in 1889 by renowned Minnesota architect Clarence H. Johnston Sr. and William Willcox.
Fitzgerald was an on-and-off St. Paul resident. In 1919, he returned from Princeton University to his parents’ apartment on Summit Avenue, where he revised “This Side of Paradise,” the novel that launched his writing career. That unit, 599 Summit, has been declared a National Historic Landmark.
The home currently for sale, 587 Summit, is a five-bedroom, three-bath end unit with just over 3,300 square feet of living space. Listed at $850,000, the home offers all the comforts of modern living combined with original Victorian-era architectural features.
Peter Rusterholz bought the end unit in 2009, and his wife, Amy, moved there in 2012.
The brownstone reminded Peter of the row houses on the East Coast he had always been drawn to. But when he bought the place, it needed work inside and out.
Over the last decade, the couple renovated extensively. The kitchen got a complete makeover, an upstairs bedroom was converted into a laundry room, air-conditioning was installed and hardwood floors were refinished, among other updates.
The exterior also was freshened up: the privacy fences, deck and three-car garage have all been all redone.
The rowhouse at 587 Summit is a little different from the other seven; a large, window-filled addition was built on the side in the 1970s. The Rusterholzs use the spacious room, which is adjacent to the kitchen, as their dining room.
The outdoor spaces also are unique to their unit. Instead of just a patio atop the garage, there’s an additional grassy side yard.
Because the home has historic status as part of the Historic Hill District, updates need to be approved by the Heritage Preservation Commission. Materials must be consistent with ones used at the time the house was built. The Rusterholzes’ new fence had to be wrought iron or wood, and the updated front windows were required to have frames matching the rest of the building.
While the addition wouldn’t be permitted today, the previous owner built it in the early 1970s, a few years before HPC was created and before historic designation of the district in 1976.
“We have an extra room and the side yard, which no one else has,” Amy said.
There’s plenty of indoor space to entertain in the three-story home. When the couple’s annual party was rained out, they were able to fit more than 100 people inside.
“We always had all the holidays because no one else had the space we had,” said Amy. “With the addition, we could have big family get-togethers and have seating for 20 or more.”
While the couple is now downsizing, the home was a perfect fit for their blended family, Peter said.
“It’s a great home, a great neighborhood. There’s so much nearby ... it’ll be hard to give that up.”
Marcy Wengler, 651-238-7434, Edina Realty has the listing.
Audrey Kennedy (email@example.com) is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.