3101 Second Ave. So.: William M. & Kate Regan House

The corner house designed for maximum eye appeal.

Built: 1890
Cost estimate on building permit: $6,000

This is probably the best-known house in the Healy Block District because of its high visibility on the corner of 31st Street and its exuberant architecture. Jacob & Mina Sinsheimer were its first owners, though they only lived here for one year. Jacob’s business partner, Moses J. Freiler, also lived here. Jacob and Moses were liquor wholesalers with a “sample room” at 411 Washington Ave. No. They eventually went bankrupt and were convicted of fraud in a case that went to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

William and Kate Regan were the second owners of the house. William Regan ran The Regan Bakery, one of the largest bakeries in Minneapolis, which had a retail outlet at 345 Nicollet Ave. William Regan also was the chief organizer and promoter of the Minneapolis Industrial Exposition in 1886 and was involved in other civic and social organizations.

William’s wife, Kate Sidle Regan, was the daughter of Jacob Kuntz Sidle, who started Minneapolis’s first bank, which eventually became the First National Bank. William and Kate sold this house in 1904 and were later divorced. Kate bought a ranch in Santa Monica, California, and moved there with her daughters. William remarried.

This house is a dramatic departure from Healy’s earlier designs, clearly designed to take advantage of the corner and to make a big impression. The house has a hipped roof with cross gables and an oversized front dormer. The ridge of the dormer is continuous with the main ridge of the house – probably the only example of this in all of Healy’s work. The dormer contains an enclosed porch; its pediment is paneled and has a central cartouche.

On the corner, Healy added a narrow tower with a Moorish cap and finial. The second-floor porch has a cat-slide roof, again something unique in Healy’s work. The original porch wrapped around two sides of the house with fretwork, turned posts, balustrade, and a skirt with scroll work. The existing neo-classical porch, with Ionic columns, was added in 1909. The double entry doors are standard for this period of Healy’s work (they are on several others in the district). On the south side of the first floor, there is an elaborately ornamented window. This window is similar to windows on houses that Healy built in the late 1880s -- a holdover from Italianate architecture, whose popularity waned while the Queen Anne became all the rage. Perhaps Healy designed this as an idea house: one in which he could advertise the variety of architectural elements he was capable of providing.

The current owners have lived here for nearly fifty years. One of the hazards of this location is that the front porch has been hit by out-of-control cars coming off the freeway at high speeds. This hazard will be removed when Second Avenue South is restructured with a median dividing the exit lane from the residential street.

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3101 2nd Avenue South ~ Private Property