State Office Supports Historic Designation for St. Andrew's Building
Thursday, April 4, 2019 6:20 AM

An initial state review cites the "many circular windows" on the front facade of the former St. Andrew's church building.

An initial review by the State Historic Preservation Office says distinctive architecture makes the former St. Andrew's church building eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. However, the office says there is not enough research to decide whether the building also would qualify because of its architect, Charles A. Hausler, or because of its history in the Warrendale neighborhood. The soonest the state will decide whether to officially submit the building for national eligibility is Aug. 20, says Denis Gardner, the state's National Register historian.

In a letter dated March 21, Garner says the church building's "Romanesque Revival design is locally distinctive." He cites its brick work, multi-sided towers with shallow-roofed turrets, numerous circular windows, and polychromatic coloring as among embellishments "which make for an unusual design vocabulary." (See a PDF of  the full letter in the right column.)

The local preservation group Friends of Warrendale-Save Historic St. Andrew's LLC is seeking local and national historic designation for the building. The building is owned by Twin Cities German Immersion School, which uses the former church as its Aula. The school opposes historic designation. (Under national guidelines, a property cannot be listed if the owner objects.)

Saint Paul's Heritage Preservation Commission says the building is eligible for local designation, but the city's Planning Commission says local designation would not be compatible with the city's Comprehensive Plan. A final decision rests with the City Council, which has scheduled the required four-week process for four Wednesdays in May. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for May 15 and the City Council vote for May 22.

Final determination at the state level would be made by Minnesota's State Historic Preservation Review Board. If the board rules in favor of eligibility, it then submits the nomination to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C., which makes its own determination on eligibility. A decision at the national level typically takes two-three more months, Gardner says.

Updated April 15, 2019

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