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St Paul

Alexander Ramsey House

The Alexander Ramsey House, located at 265 Exchange St. S. in Saint Paul, Minnesota is the former residence of Alexander Ramsey, who served as the first governor of Minnesota Territory and the second governor of the state of Minnesota. It is located in the Irvine Park area, which was one of the first trendy neighborhoods in Minnesota. Designed by noted early Minnesota architect Monroe Sheire, the house is one of the nation's best-preserved Victorian homes, featuring carved walnut woodwork, marble fireplaces, crystal chandeliers and many original furnishings.

The Ramsey family began building the house in 1868,including innovations like hot water radiators, gas lights and hot and cold running water, and when it was completed in 1872, the total cost of construction was nearly $41,000. To furnish the house, Ramsey's wife Anna filled two boxcars with fashionable and expensive Renaissance-revival furniture from New York department store A.T. Stewart and Company to bring home to Minnesota.

The 15-room house remained in the Ramsey family until the death of Alexander Ramsey's last surviving granddaughter Anita in 1964. It is now operated by the Minnesota Historical Society as a museum, with tours offered year-round. They offer special programs such as "Christmas at the Alexander Ramsey House" in which the house is decorated for the holidays and a costumed guide reenacts the role of their cook, Annie Robertson. Tours show the dining table set with the family's china and crystal, with a Christmas tree decorated with the family's own ornaments.