Theron Potter Healy was the premiere Master Builder in Minneapolis history. The two-block historic district, built between 1886 and 1892, contains fourteen Healy-designed and -built Queen Anne houses, as well as three horse barns. In Healy’s career after 1893, he would build the designs of the most prominent Minneapolis architects in the neighborhoods of Lowry Hill, Whittier, Loring Park, and Loring Heights.
The block was drastically changed in 1959-60 when fifteen Healy-designed houses were demolished for I-35W, including eight on the 3100 block of Second Avenue South. The larger district once included thirty-six Healy houses and thirteen horse barns. The horse barns remind us that horses, wagons, and carriages were fundamental to the transportation system, especially for a builder. The Healy Block was built on farmland at the end of the first streetcar line coming out of downtown on Fourth Avenue South. The 1890s were also the first great age of the bicycle.
Healy has been nicknamed the “King of the Queen Anne.” He was prolific, building over 200 buildings between 1886 and 1906. His houses were filled with sumptuous woodwork, elegant hardware, jeweled stained glass, wallpapers, and fabrics. T. P. Healy also created a neighborhood of prominent businessmen and women active in society. Many of the names do not resonate today, but the jeweler J. B. Hudson and the retailer Richard Sears (founder of Sears, Roebuck & Co.) are names that we still recognize.
The district today is defined by its proximity to I-35W. The freeway demolition process did not destroy the southside African-American community as happened to St Paul’s Rondo neighborhood; it did, however, create a race barrier in the southside of Minneapolis. Since the 1960s, the historic district has housed a resilient and resourceful collection of residents who have restored, protected, and promoted the Healy legacy.
The tour walks 1/2 mile and will go into one interior. The tour is ADA accessible except for the interior.
Tour guides are Anders Christensen, Healy historian and President of the Healy Project; Brian Finstad, former resident of the Healy Block and member of the Heritage Preservation Commission in Superior, Wisconsin; and Robert-Jan Quene.