3107 Second Ave South: Andrew H. & Elizabeth Adams House

A beautifully restored example of T.P. Healy's Queen Anne-style architecture.

Built 1891
Cost estimate on building permit: $5,000

This is the eighteenth house that Healy built in the district and one of six houses he started in 1891. The first owners were Herman C. and Bess Evers, who lived here from 1892 to 1896. Herman immigrated from Germany on a wooden sailing ship. In Minneapolis, he was known as the “dean of barbers,” with a shop in the Soo Line Building from 1915 to 1955; in all he worked as a barber in Minneapolis for seventy years. He lamented the end of the “golden age of barbers” brought on by safety razors and electric razors. Herman died in 1959.

The second owners were Andrew Adams, the son of a sea captain, and his wife Elizabeth. Andrew came to Minneapolis as an early settler in 1862, but returned to New York to join his father-in-law’s Brooklyn Regiment for the Civil War. However, he did not see action and he returned to Minneapolis as an attorney in 1891. He was one of the first tenants of the Guaranty Loan Building, later known as the Metropolitan Building. Andrew and Elizabeth lived in this house from 1897 until Andrew died in the house in 1903.

One of the pioneers on the Healy Block in the modern era was Carolyn MacDonald. She lived in this house from 1978 to 1986 and raised her three boys here. In a 1982 Minneapolis Star article, Carolyn called Queen Anne architecture “effusively feminine.” She also observed: “The moldings, windows, and everything were all pre-made: none of it was custom. But there is something about the way [Healy] chose things and put them together that makes it very appealing.” Her next-door neighbor, Marjorie Holly, remembers Carolyn’s wicker, her plants, and her sophistication. Carolyn was an early advocate for the block to receive city historic designation.

Scott Johnson, a real estate agent, bought the house in 1986 but then lost it to foreclosure in 1992. It was then purchased by Keith Miller, who found that Johnson had removed many of the original features. According to a 1999 City Pages article, Miller, a bartender and waiter at Manny’s Steakhouse, worked with the Minneapolis Police Department to wrest the stolen artifacts from Johnson and return them to the house. In the article, Shirley Sailors, a supervisor in the Minneapolis HUD (Housing and Urban Development) office stated that it was the only instance she could recall in which stolen house parts were actually recovered and restored to a house.

This house, one of Healy’s simplest designs, has a cross-gabled roof with the side gables subordinated to the main ridge. The third floor was damaged by a fire and repaired in 1923, so it’s possible that the group of three relatively plain windows under the front gable were replacements for something more elaborate. The second story has a bay and Healy’s signature porch-under-cantilevered-gable. The first-floor has been restored with arched fretwork, turned posts, and a balustrade above a porch skirt that has scrollwork patterns. All of this work was by Pete Holly who, at this writing (2019), lives at 3111 2nd Ave. So. The double front doors with carved panels are off center to balance with the large window. The northern corner is rounded with curved-glass upper and lower window panes.

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3107 2nd Avenue South ~ Private Property