470 Hopkins Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Santa Michael

1925
2002
Address: 470 Hopkins Street
Neighborhood/s: Railroad Island, Saint Paul, Minnesota
City/locality-
State/province
Saint Paul, Minnesota
County-
State/province:
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1887
Historic Function: House/single dwelling or duplex
Current Function: House/single dwelling or duplex
Architect or source of design: Omeyer and Thori
Builder: A.O. Peterson
Material of Roof: Asphalt Shingles
Material of Foundation: Limestone
Building Permit Number: 12423
First Owner: Albert Schumacher

Railroad Island Saint Paul Ramsey County

470 Hopkins Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota
(44.958342° N, 93.080097° WLatitude: 44°57′30.031″N
Longitude: 93°4′48.349″W
)


This house is part of an exhibit at the Minnesota Historical Society, "Open House: If These Walls Could Talk," an interactive exhibit that opened on Jan. 14, 2006 at the Minnesota History Center, bringing to life the adage “if these walls could talk” by using a single, existing house-in the Railroad Island neighborhood on St. Paul’s East Side-as a window into the daily lives of people of the past.

Stories of families, from the first German immigrants through the Italians, African-Americans, and Hmong who succeeded them, are told through rooms representing different eras of the house. Visitors become detectives, piecing together lives of the families who lived at 470 Hopkins Street.

Contents

History

Michelina and Russell Frascone
lived in the house 1931-1956; Michelina’s parents (Dominick and Filomena D’Aloia) lived there from 1928-1949; her uncle and aunt (Filomeno and Rose Cocchiarella) lived on the other side of the duplex (1924-1946).

Michelina moved into 470 Hopkins St. in 1932, shortly after she and her mother arrived in America from Italy. Michelina went on to marry and raise her family in the house until 1956, when they moved to Hazel Park.

Jerry D’Aloia
lived in the house from 1932-1949 and 1954-1956 (with wife Barbara); younger brother of Michelina Frascone

  • raising chickens in the basement for Michelina’s wedding
  • while working at Hamm’s brewery, the day he flipped the wrong valve and the toilets overflowed with beer
  • his father and uncle worked as railroad track repairmen

Angie and Dick Krismer
lived in the house 1958-1967

  • being a “mixed marriage” (Italian and German) in a Little Italy neighborhood
  • dealing intimately with the alcoholism problems of their upstairs neighbors, the Berrys
  • creating an “assembly line” to give their 4 kids a bath in tight quarters
  • flying kites with the neighborhood kids-higher and higher until the string broke and then following it in the station wagon
  • working at the slaughterhouse in South St. Paul; the screams of the pigs damaged Dick’s hearing

June Cramer Mayer and Diane Hegner (mother-daughter)
lived in the house from 1957-1979

  • the day the house caught on fire (Diane was inside), burning off the third floor
  • neighborhood birthday parties in the yard; parties in the basement
  • family struggles with alcoholism and abuse

Pang Toua Yang and Mai Vang
lived in the house from 2002-2004, with daughter Elizabeth Young as landlord

  • serving in South Vietnamese army, fleeing for Thailand after U.S. pulled out; immigrated to St. Paul
  • using shaman altar to help treat burns suffered in backyard accident
  • passing the citizenship exam

Elizabeth Young
current owner (with Michael Wong) of the house. Her parents, Pang Toua Yang and Mai Vang, lived in the house from 2002-2004

  • born in Laos, fled to Thailand as a child with her parents; settled in St. Paul as refugees
  • went to school and decided to go into real estate; now owns 23 properties, mostly on the East Side, including 470 Hopkins St.

Memories and stories

Memory

My dad was a tough old guy. He would come home with a block of ice on one day on his shoulder for the refrigerator, the icebox. It would be about maybe a twenty-five-thirty-pound, maybe a forty-pound block of ice. On the opposite days, he’d come home with a railroad tie on his shoulder. That was still the wood fire in the furnace and the wood was cheap because we would burn railroad ties.
~Jerry D'Aloia

Memory

My papa could understand [English] pretty good. Mama, I kind of tried to teach her when I was trying to learn myself.

A lot of Italian people got their citizenship papers and I took them. I taught them how to answer the questions and everything. It was all in English. It was kind of scary, but when I went with them, I think they had a lot of confidence.

They didn’t even know how to write in Italian. They never went to school. I’d try to teach them how to write their names.
~Michelina Frascone

Photo Gallery

Related Links

Open House Exhibit, Minnesota Historical Society

Notes

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