3139 Second Ave So: Welcome & Caroline Johnston House
(also called the George H. Bates House)

Built: 1886
Cost estimate on building permit: $3,500

This is the second house built in Minneapolis by T. P. Healy (see 3137 2nd Ave. So. for his first). The original clients were Welcome and Caroline Johnston. Welcome Johnston’s occupation in city directories was variously listed as “loans,” “real estate,” and “capitalist.” It is not known how Healy and the Johnstons met, but the relationship soon became familial. In 1890, Healy’s eldest daughter, Lena, married Caroline Johnston’s nephew Rea Hibbard Smith. In 1891, daughter Alice Healy married son Frank Welcome Johnston. And in 1892, son Charles Healy married Caroline’s niece Nettie Helene Smith. Johnston’s financial backing fueled Healy’s rapid rise in the construction business and likely allowed him to survive the severe depression that began in 1893.

The Johnstons had a barn built in 1887, but they only lived at 3139 2nd Ave. for a year. In 1888, they moved across the street to 3140 2nd Ave., a large corner house designed and built by Healy (demolished; replaced by I-35W). The Healys also moved across the street and, so, were next-door neighbors with the Johnstons on both sides of the street. When the neighborhood received local designation as a historic district, 3139 was referred to as the George F. Bates House. However, Bates was the first of a series of short-term tenants in the house. From 1902 to 1919, the house was the home of Welcome and Caroline’s son George Johnston and his wife Helen. Like his father, George was in the real estate and finance businesses.

3139 2nd Ave. was remodeled in 1938, received an addition in 1942, and was sheathed with cement-asbestos siding in 1955. It was converted to a duplex in 1958 and became a three-apartment dwelling in 1964. The house’s restoration was overseen by Minneapolis house designer Robert Roscoe for owner Dan Nichols, who purchased the house from the city for $1. Many people thought the house was irredeemable and should be torn down. But Nichols owned the house for ten years and restored it inside and out.

When Anthony Kaczor and Sid Korpi owned the house from 2005 to 2017, it became one of the most visited and enjoyed houses on the Healy Block. Countless Healy Block tours began at their front porch and ended with people viewing the house from top to bottom. Anthony & Sid taught dancing on the third floor and hosted numerous social gatherings. The house became the location for a locally produced movie, “House of Ghosts,” by director Christopher R. Mihm. Both Sid & Anthony appeared in the film.

Structurally, 3139 2nd Ave. So. has cross-gables. A two-story front bay is centered under the shingled front gable, which is offset from center. The restored front porch covers half of the front. The south side features a two-story curved bay. The interior has a center hall plan, unique in Healy’s work. A successful balancing of varying design elements is characteristic of the Queen Anne style, and Healy was one of the best at bringing multiple elements together in a harmonious design.

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