Placeography:Featured place/2011-08

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Thomas Sinclair House, 402 North 4th Street, Stillwater, Minnesota

In 1856, a 24 year-old Irish stonemason, Thomas Sinclair, and his 18 year-old Maine-born wife, Elmira, purchased the 50 by 150 foot hillside lot on the northwest corner of Fourth and Linden Streets for the extravagant price of $350. The following year, they took out a $600 mortgage at a 4 percent monthly interest rate with a private party, and all the evidence indicates they built the house at 402 North Fourth Street in 1856 or 1857. Captain Sinclair went on to become one of the most significant stone masons in Stillwater working on the new Central School, and many of the commercial buildings downtown. The Staples ultimately raised seven children in their home at 402 North Fourth Street. After Josiah’s death in 1892, and Lydia’s death in 1906, the home remained in the family’s hands until 1929.

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