The smell of sophisticated oldness hangs in the elegant homes along Summit Avenue in St. Paul.
No, it’s not mold or a potpourri basket in the bathroom. Rather, it’s the vestiges of important humans — governors, railroad magnates, novelists — who once resided on the city’s swankiest roadway.
For a $1.1 million pittance, you too could take your place among the dignitaries who live or have lived on Summit Avenue. Specifically, the same place once home to Sinclair Lewis.
The Nobel Prize-winning novelist’s former casa is on the market, and if we’re to believe Zillow’s “Zestimate” — which is weirdly fun to say — kind of a steal. The real estate website pegs the value of Sinclair’s old spot at closer to $1.4 million.
According to the Edina Realty listing, Lewis lived and wrote in the Italian Renaissance-style house at 516 Summit Ave. in 1917. The four-bedroom abode is appropriately regal, littered with mahogany woodwork, brick and marble, and five fireplaces. It’s suitable for a guy whose face was on a stamp once.
Almost as brag-worthy is that the 4,800-square-foot mini-mansion was built by Butler Brothers Construction, which built the State Capitol.
Each of the bedrooms is equipped with its own attached bathroom, an attractive feature for anyone with an older sister. Dial up a scotch and a stogie in the billiards room and imagine how a pre-Babbitt Lewis and whatever smart people he kicked it with did the same forever ago.
For most of us, the $21,200 in annual taxes are closer to a year’s worth of mortgage payments than the city’s cut.
Take the full photo tour of Lewis’ former St. Paul nest here.