Cass Gilbert Society


C. Livingston House, Saint Paul, MN

Photo Bill Kelley 2000

C. Livingston House

339 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Design & Construction:
1898 [1898 Irish-1999; 1898 Christen-2001]
Cass Gilbert 

The Livingston House was a project Gilbert worked on during a trip to Europe in the fall of 1897. The design is inspired by Venetian Renaissance sources. In Venice, the vaporetto would have pulled up to steps rising from the canal to the loggia. Here the loggia is a porch that overlooks Summit Avenue~St. Paul's Grand Canal. Gilbert was in New York ready to sail for Europe when he worked out the design for the front dormer.[CG to Office, November 11,1897, Box: 19, Fldr.: General Correspondence, January 1896-June 1899, MNHS-CGP.] The detailing of the porch columns came to him while he was on the SS Friesland in the English Channel. He wrote his office that the porch capitals should be strong like those in the chancery arch of St. Clement's Church (1894).[CG to Office, November 26,1897, Box: 4, Fldr.: 26, MNHS-CGP.] The interior of the Livingston House is one of the finest residential interiors ever designed by Gilbert. He specified all of the materials and colors. He determined the reception room should be delicate lilac and mauve with a gold-leaf ceiling. Some of the interior is still original.

Crawford Livingston, president of the St. Paul Gas Light Company, lived up the street at 432 Summit Avenue in the second oldest surviving house on the avenue. He never lived at 339 Summit Avenue. C.H.F. Smith occupied the house. The authors haven't determined the connection between Smith and Livingston. Smith decided on the decorating, but Livingston was certainly in controls Smith was a prominent businessman and a member of the New York Stock Exchange.[C.H.F. Smith to Crawford Livingston, August 1, 1899, Box: 19, Fldr.: General Correspondence, July 1899-December 1902, MNHS-CGP.]

See Also

  • Minnesota Historical Society. "Cass Gilbert Papers." MNHS has 23 boxes, and 2 unboxed oversize folders from the St. Paul offices of Cass Gilbert, dating from 1882 to 1934 (most from 1882 to 1910). 28351?func=full-set-set&set_number=336778&set_entry=000006&format=999

  • John M. Lindley. “Crawford Livingston, Colonel Chauncey W. Griggs and Their Roles in St. Paul History.” Ramsey County History 34 no. 3 (Fall 1999): 4-27