216-218 Bates Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Schornstein Garage

Address: 216 Bates Avenue
Neighborhood/s: Dayton's Bluff, Saint Paul, Minnesota
City/locality-
State/province
Saint Paul, Minnesota
County-
State/province:
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1886
Additions: One story section constructed in 1912
Historic Function: Business
Current Function: House/single dwelling or duplex
Architect or source of design: Augustus F. Gauger
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
First Owner: William Schornstein
Part of the Site: {{{site_name}}}

Dayton's Bluff Saint Paul Ramsey


The Schornstein Grocery and Saloon at 707 Wilson (223 Bates) was constructed in 1884. It is architecturally and historically significant as one of the most unusual and ornate small Victorian era commercial buildings still standing in Saint Paul. The building was designed by Saint Paul architect, Augustus F. Gauger and has served as a focal point for the Wilson/Bates neighborhood since the late nineteenth century.

William Schornstein and his wife, Wilhelmina, were born in Germany and immigrated directly to St. Paul in 1873. William worked as a bartender for several years before moving to the predominantly German Wilson/Bates neighborhood in 1880. In that year he opened his first grocery store and saloon in rented quarters at the corner of Bates and Plum. In 1882, Schornstein purchased a lot a few blocks away at the NW corner of Wilson and Bates (site of the present building) and built a $6000, two-story brick store. This building was destroyed by fire two years later.

In the summer of1884, he commissioned St. Paul architect Augustus F. Gauger to design the present building, which was completed in the fall of 1884 at an estimated cost of $5000. Gauger was a prolific German-born architect with a carpentry background who came to Saint Paul in 1875 and first worked in the office of architect Edward P. Bassford. Gauger designed a large number of houses, schools, commercial buildings, and at least one church in Saint Paul. He eventually gained a national reputation

The new Schorenstein Grocery and Saloon originally housed a grocery store in the main storefront, a saloon in the rear storefront (entry at Bates), the Schornstein's apartment on the second floor, and a meeting hall on the third floor. The one-story store attached to the west side was used by Schornstein's brother-in-law as a harness shop. Sometime after the turn of the century, the second floor was divided into two apartments. William Schornstein operated the saloon and grocery store until his retirement in 1910 when his son, Otto, assumed control of the business.

William dies in 1920 and one year later Otto closed the store and sold the building. The Schornstein Garage at 216-218 Bates was constructed in two phases: the two-story portion (216) in 1886 and the one-story portion (218) in 1912. When the one-story portion was constructed for Schornstein in 1912, he purchased the two-story portion.

The William Schornstein residence at 716 Wilson (Hudson Ave.) was constructed in 1912 (the same year as 218 Bates). The original building permit number is #59131. The residence is oneand- one-half stories and of frame construction. The front porch has been enclosed and Permastone applied to the area under the windows. The rest of the house has been wrapped in aluminum siding.

On the 1903-1925 Sanborn Map, the house and garage are shown ooccupying the same lot. Historically, Bates Avenue between Wilson and Hudson had been a commercial block.

The Schornstein garage was vacant for many years. Across the street new townhouses were built. In 2014 the housing redevelopment authority of St. Paul applied for a wrecking permit for the buildings. Neighborhood residents once again united in an effort to save the Schornstein garage and several other buildings in Dayton's Bluff. Jane Prince's election to the St. Paul City Council made a positive difference in the rescue efforts. Open houses were held, rehab funds were offered by the City.

A young couple wrote a proposal for the rehab of the buildings which was accepted by the City.

They intend to live and work in the buildings. The Schornstein garage will be featured on the Minneapolis St. Paul Home tour on April 27-28th 2018.

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