On this page you'll be introduced to historic sites in the West
Saint Paul area. Some of them are simply interesting points of
local interest, but many have a unique place in the history of
Minnesota or have even been deemed of National significance. Each
is well worth the trip to see in person and, hopefully, this page
will help you understand these sites and the role they played in
our rich history.
||Indicates a site which has a marker in place from the National
Register of Historic Sites.
Location: Wentworth Avenue
In February, 1980, the first historic site in West
St. Paul was placed on the National Register of Historic
Places, the George Wentworth House. This large Queen Anne
style mansion was built in 1887 at a cost of $12,000 by
Wentworth, who emigrated from England in the 1860s.
According to Agnes Wentworth Wright, George's youngest
daughter and one of the last surviving members of the
family, George came to America because he was the second
son of an English gentleman and thus could not expect
to inherit his father's property. In 1887, the year he
built his house at 1575 Oakdale Avenue, George helped
organize the city of South St. Paul and served as one
of its first aldermen. Wentworth was a horse trader at
the South St. Paul livestock market.
Between 1887 and 1889 a split arose in then South St. Paul
between the citizens living near the stock industry along the river
and the farmers on the western border, whom Wentworth represented.
Feeling short-changed in affairs of government, this western
faction split and formed their own municipality in 1889, the City
of West St. Paul. Wentworth then became an alderman on the new city
council. He donated property for West St. Paul's first school.
Four years after Wentworth's death in 1908 at the age of 64, the family moved
to St. Paul, and in October of 1912 the large eleven-room
brick house was sold again for $400 at a sheriff's sale,
and it stood empty for the next fourteen years through
the Depression. A Dr. Brown purchased it in 1940 and totally
renovated the home with a new furnace, plumbing and wiring.
Julie Sorenson purchased the house in 1967 and she was
instrumental in placing it on the National Register.
Thanks to Wentworth descendant, Gordon Wright, for clarifications.
Location: 1746 Oakdale Ave. (Razed)
Jacob and Regina Marthaler, who settled in
Dakota County in 1857, built this stone structure in 1863 at a cost
of $400. The main part of the house was constructed of gray
limestone obtained from the Riverview quarry once located near the
intersection of Robert and Concord. The walls were approximately 22
The house contained 11 rooms, 5 stairways and 3 porches. The
original windows and front porch were replaced during a renovation
in 1910. The house was considered an important local example of
early settlement housing influenced by the Federal architectural
style interpreted from eastern prototypes.
The house eventually fell into disrepair and after sitting empty
for nearly 15 years, it was torn down in 1993, at the advanced age
of 130 years.
Lt. Zebulon Pike's land purchase in 1805 for Fort Snelling
included a portion of what is now Dakota County. The line
ran through land that presently includes Burnsville, Eagan,
Mendota Heights, and West Saint Paul.[Read More about the Military Reservation Line]
If you know of a local site in this area that you feel should be
acknowledged for its historic significance we'd love to hear about
it or help you to investigate and document the site. Please contact
the us at:
Dakota County Historical Society
130 Third Avenue North
South Saint Paul, MN 55075
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