Historic Justus Ramsey House finds new home at Minnesota Transportation Museum

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The historic Justus Ramsey House may have found a new home in St. Paul.

The small limestone residence, erected for the brother of territorial governor Alexander Ramsey, had stood for roughly 170 years off Walnut Street, at what is now the side patio of Burger Moe’s restaurant, not far from the Xcel Energy Center. It was removed in pieces by the restaurant owner last February after a wall partially collapsed, despite the objections of historic preservationists and other neighborhood residents eager to see it remain in place.

Since then, the disassembled cottage-like structure has sat in a secure storage facility outside the city while community advocates searched for a new steward.

Following a request for proposals, that steward has just been announced. The Minnesota Transportation Museum will lead the reconstruction effort, “an exciting development that promises to further enrich the historical narrative of St. Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood,” reads a written statement from Julia McColley, executive director of the Fort Road Federation.

The neighborhood organization released a request for proposals in May and received four letters of intent, with three meeting the minimum criteria. Two organizations then submitted full proposals, which were scored.

Justus Ramsey House

The Justus Ramsey House in 1975 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and declared an official St. Paul Heritage site. While Justus Ramsey himself is unlikely to have ever lived there, preservationists say the house is a testament to the city’s working-class history. Among the historic findings, it was home to some of St. Paul’s first Black workers, as well as a same-sex couple.

The transportation museum, which is home to historic train cars, is at Pennsylvania Avenue and Jackson Street. It recently hosted an exhibit on Black railroad workers, such as the Pullman porters and red caps.

“The house will provide an ideal setting to explore the home life of African American railroad industry workers and their families, who played a vital role in the development of the neighborhood,” the Fort Road Federation said.

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