Few locations in St. Paul offer the richness, history, convenience, value and spectacular views as Dayton’s Bluff does. It is also considered to be one of the greatest undiscovered gems in the city.
First platted in 1857 by Lyman Dayton, Dayton’s Bluff precedes some of the more recognizable historic neighborhoods such as Summit Hill and Crocus Hill in age and holds just as many architectural treasures, left behind by the founding forefathers of St. Paul. The bluff began as an escape for the wealthy lumber barons and business men who could retreat to their castles high on the hill while still being close enough to keep an eye on their investments. In fact James J. Hill himself resided just below the bluff before he built his mansion on Summit Ave. As the most dramatic sites with amazing views of the city and river were already developed by the late 1880s there was still a great demand for homes in this fashionable area. With the great building boom in the bluff also came a great diversity in architectural and economic development. Simple worker’s cottages were intertwined with great sprawling mansions producing great diversity early on. Now over 150 years later this diversity continues to thrive in the bluff. The area is considered ideal for people who want a home in close proximity to the city without feeling like they have to live in the city. The area is also considered optimal for the home prices and value one can get for one of these exquisite properties. From great mansions to simple bungalows, homes can be purchased for relatively less than comparable homes in more well known areas. The difference is that in Dayton’s Bluff many of historic properties need some good TLC. Whereas unrestored homes in other districts are rarer and priced higher to reflect their demand, Dayton’s Bluff hold many treasures waiting to be restored. Once homes are restored they sell priced more comparably with those in other historic districts.
Dayton’s Bluff also offers a number of other attractive features such as the proximity to the freeways which makes for shorter commutes, the Bruce Vento nature sanctuary which is a 27 acre nature preserve with many trails and stretches along the Mississippi river to Swede Hollow as well as Metro State University, culturally diverse stores and countless other cultural characteristics. Dayton’s Bluff was founded upon a cultural melting pot theory that all could live equally, side by side in the same neighborhood and this belief is still in full motion and with a current revitalization underway. These reasons and many more make one of St. Paul’s oldest jewels an attractive place to call home.
Content courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.