On This Date In Twin Cities History - October 10, 2017

Stanford Newel House at 251 Dayton Ave circa 1941
Stanford Newel House at 251 Dayton Ave circa 1941

On this date in 2017, the Stanford Newel House, located at 251 Dayton Avenue in St. Paul, is left in ruins after a massive fire. During the fire, part of the home’s roof collapsed and the second floor fell into the first floor. About 60 firefighters responded to the fire whose smoke was visible from miles away.

The 7,214-square-foot house, located just across Dayton Avenue form the Cathedral of St. Paul, was built by Alpheus Lasher in 1864 during the Civil War. It is one of very few remaining homes in St. Paul built in the 1860s.

Stanford Newel (also spelled Newell) was an attorney who owned the home in the late 1800s. He was member of St. Paul’s first park board and went on to become the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.

The owners at the time of the fire, Maris and Norma Purmalietis, had purchased the home in 1975. Maris, a retired carpenter, spent countless hours hand-carving the home’s woodwork. The family planned to restore the home after the fire.