Pen & Ink
Summit Avenue is one of this nation’s great thoroughfares. The first permanent home constructed on the bluff was completed in 1855, three years before Minnesota became a state. The bluff commanded a grand view of the young city of Saint Paul and Mississippi river which flowed thru the expansive crescent shaped valley. It was written at the time by a city booster “Nature never planned a spot better adapted to build up a showy and delightful display of architecture and gardens”. By the end of that century the prediction had come true. Late nineteenth century mansion lined streets like Summit Avenue were not uncommon; Chicago, New York, Cleveland and Minneapolis had them, but it is Saint Paul whose monumental boulevard streetscape which remains largely intact. In 1978 an author wrote “thus, St. Paul’s Summit Avenue stands as the best-preserved American example of the Victorian monumental boulevard”.
Perhaps a mile from its beginning at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Summit Avenue ends its course following the bluff line and heads due west. At this juncture the University Club can be found. Completed in 1913 and fully restored in recent years, the magnificent Tudor Clubhouse has beautifully appointed banquet and meeting rooms.