Realtor Dan Duddingston is uniquely qualified to be selling one of Minnesota's most unique historic homes.
"I feel like it’s my own house, actually," he laughs. "I’m the identical twin of the owner."
St. Paul's 7 Heather Pl. is being by listed Duddingston Group, the real estate firm of twins Dan and David Duddingston. David and his husband, lawyer Clayton Halunen, have lived for 16 years at the fairytale Tudor Revival home, which hit the market last week for $1.95 million.
That price tag buys a lot of history. Known as the Goodkind House, the 9-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom, 9,460-square-foot Summit Hill mansion is locally famous for being half of a double-house: Neighboring 5 Heather Pl., a totally separate single-family property, is connected by what's believed to be the Twin Cities' first skyway.
"It’s a little confusing, it kind of presents as one big house," Dan says, noting that the passageway was walled off in the '20s. "It’s not like your neighbor will be walking across the skyway into your dressing room."
The homes were completed in 1910 by brothers William and Benjamin Goodkind, whose family helped pioneer the department store retail concept in downtown St. Paul. Local architecture firm Reed & Stem, whose resume includes the nearby University Club as well as New York City's Grand Central Station, built the limestone and stucco masterpiece (see it under construction here and freshly completed here).
The architectural footprint beneath that enchanting cotswold roof has remained largely unchanged, though the home's current owners extensively restored and updated the cosmetics and the HVAC/electrical systems. Among the delightful period details: various bells and call buttons that still function, plus the original wall of iceboxes; a 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom servants' quarters rests above the kitchen.
Several tweaks have been made over the past 110 years. There's the '50-era basement bomb shelter, for instance, where untouched boxed water and General Mills powdered foods still sit. A pickaxe and post-explosion instructions are situated helpfully by the door.
"It’s kinda straight out of The Twilight Zone," Dan says. "It’s fascinating to people, it’s really the first thing you want to see."
At one point, a trick bookshelf that opens into a secret bathroom/sauna area, Scooby Doo-style, was added. Other interior highlights include a gym, wine cellar, and five fireplaces.
Updates to the .82-acre lot include an industrial-grade greenhouse and a "resort-like" swimming pool. That latter feature was installed 12 years ago under the supervision of various historical societies, ensuring only materials that respected the home's heritage would be used. "It was done at great expense, let’s just put it that way," Dan says.
David and Halunen purchased 7 Heather Pl. for $1.25 million in 2004, according to county records. They've listed it for sale a handful of times since 2011.
"It’s really like living in a piece of St. Paul’s history, it’s held in that regard," Dan says. "People drive by all the time on tours. It’s a destination."
Let's take a photo tour, courtesy of Duddingston Group and Keller Williams Premier Realty. Stick around til the very end for pics of the bomb shelter and the secret room.