Architect’s progressive work went beyond St. Andrew’s design

I support the historic designation of the former St. Andrew’s Catholic Church at 1031 Como Ave. in St. Paul. As a lifelong resident of St. Paul District 10, I appreciate the history and architecture of this beautiful neighborhood landmark.

The architecture is unique. They call it Romanesque Revival, but it is actually a combination of several early styles. The brick work is custom and artistic. The brick work varies greatly on different sections of the building, yet all blends together perfectly. And the multi-colored tile roof is amazingly beautiful. I have not noticed another roof like that elsewhere in St. Paul.

The designer was our very first city architect: Charles A. Hausler. Mr. Hausler was highly respected for the quality of his work. And Mr. Hausler was quite progressive for his day, often hiring women and minorities to help with the drafting work. Mr. Hausler went on to represent St. Paul Wards 5 and 6 in the Minnesota Senate, where he fought to improve building and safety codes.

With all due respect to the Twin Cities German Immersion School, the school has many other options, such as limiting enrollment (as several other St. Paul schools do), adaptive reuse of the church building, or the possibility of moving to a larger site. There remains an outstanding offer from the Save St. Andrew’s group to meet with TCGIS, U of M architects, and local historians to find an economical compromise.

For the reasons stated above, I ask the City of St. Paul to help the Como/Warrendale community save this historic church building. There is a growing trend to reuse old buildings like this. Fourteen other churches around St. Paul have been successfully adaptive for reuse.

                                                       

                                                                                                                             —Jeffery M. Thole

                                                                                                                           St. Paul District 10

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