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Lowertown, Saint Paul, MN

Lowertown Landing is dedicated to supporting the continued growth and rejuvenation of the Lowertown historic district of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Strauss Lofts

(Previously known as: John Wann Building, Fairbanks-Morse Co., Powers Dry Goods Co., and Mears Park Center - 350 N. Sibley St.)  

 This large cream colored brick building has been altered several times but is probably the oldest structure which faces Mears Park. This Italianate style building was erected at a cost of $25,000 for John Wann and was first rented to the Noyes Brothers and Cutler Wholesale Druggist Company who later built the building across Mears Park now known as Park Square Court and the two other buildings on this block along 5th Street: 220 E. 5th Street (now H. Rosenthal) and 230-236 E. 5th Street (originally Power's Dry Goods and now the home of the Globe Business College and numerous other businesses). John Wann came to St. Paul in 1865 from Belfast, Ireland after a term in the British Foreign Service in India. In addition to this property he also owned property further south on this block, and elsewhere in the city. Wann, along with William S. Wright, was responsible for platting Grand Avenue in 1871 and operating the first horse-drawn streetcar along Grand in 1872. When he died at the age of seventy-six in 1905, Wann owned over $180,000 in property in St. Paul.

The design of the Wann building has been attributed to J. Walter Stevens though the original building permit for the structure is lost. A lithograph of the building appears on an 1883 panorama of St. Paul, which indicates that the main facade of the building originally faced Sibley Street and had eight bays, a large bracketed cornice, and a central pediment from which a flag was flown. The building retains its segmental and rounded arched brick window hoods and brick banding. The cornice was removed and the fifth story added about 1900. Much more recently the windows have been partially filled in, and an obtrusive storefront added. The main entrance to the building is now in the northwest corner of the structure, at the intersection of Sibley and 5th Streets.

*Do you have historic photos of this building? Please contact us so we can share with the community!