House on the beautiful hill

Tangletown house
Image from the collection of the Hennepin History Museum

In 1926, Frank Chatfield built the fine house at 5013 Belmont Ave. in Minneapolis’s Tangletown neighborhood. It cost $10,000.

Over the next 90 years, this “executive residence” was sold at least seven times. The real estate listings provide a historical peek into the families and their times, a look at what was considered important.

Chatfield was a vice president at Munsingwear, but perhaps had quit school after 6th grade. In 1943, Confer Realty listed the house. It was “not just another house.” It had metal casement windows, copper screens and a thoroughly waterproofed basement. In 1945, it was supposedly “architect-designed” and listed for $16,500.

Alvin J. and Agnes Cron bought the house in 1946. A. J. spent 46 years as a manager at National Cash Register. He should be remembered for getting out and selling bonds to finance the new Met Stadium out in Bloomington. Agnes advertised for a housekeeper and “plain cook” (no laundry) in 1947.

By 1960, William F. Seidl bought “the English Colonial” in the “$27,000 bracket.”  There were two garages and a dishwasher. Seidl was a third-generation grain exchange member who grew up in Southwest Minneapolis.

In 1981, real estate agents touted the great advantages of “English Stucco” and — were you waiting for it? — all the natural woodwork.

Tax and finance man Duane Suess owned the house for a few years, paying $132,000.

For sale again in February 1984, the house featured a hand-carved hutch and mantle and leaded windows. Asking price was $155,000.

In April of 1984, the mantle had become “European-carved,” and the asking price was up to $169,500.

In a 1986 advertisement, the house had “live-in quarters on the lower level” — perhaps first used by Agnes Cron’s housekeeper. The asking price went up to $189,500. The house sold to Scherer Bros. Lumber Co. for $168,500 in Nov. 1986.

The asking price was $289,900 in Dec. 1993. The house had three garage spaces. Maybe the Scherer brothers rebuilt Frank Chatfield’s garage at the back of the lot.

Belmont — the “beautiful hill” — is near the corner of 50th & Nicollet. From atop that hill, businessmen could see downtown from their quiet homes near Minnehaha Creek.

The further we get from the builder and original owner, the less is remembered. More grandeur gets invented for real estate ads. But this was always a fine home for a businessman and a family.


Is your Southwest home pictured in Hennepin History Museum’s photo collection online at Hennepin County Library?  If so, and you’d like your house to be featured in a house history, email Karen Cooper at yf@urbancreek.com.