The mansion is built on part of a parcel of land that was originally described as “80 acres more or less,” purchased from the Federal Government in 1848 by William A. Woodward. As Minnesota did not become a territory until 1849, the title to this property dates to the earliest days of our state. In 1872 it was subdivided, and in 1914 two and one-half lots were sold to Henry G. Allen, a wholesale grocer, and his wife, Ruth.
The Allens’ plans for a thirty-nine room Georgian Revival house were drawn up by Architect Thomas Holyoke, and the house and carriage house were completed in 1916 at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars.
Shreve Archer and his wife, Doris, purchased the property on June 20, 1927. Mr. Archer was president of Archer, Daniels, Midland Company, manufacturers of linseed oil and paint. The Archers occupied the house for over twenty years, and during that time several changes and additions were made. One addition was the new master bedroom and bath on the west side of the second floor, now called the Bride’s Room; the bathroom is considered an outstanding example of Art Deco design. On the first floor, the library next to the main staircase became a lounge. At the south end of the central hall, the conservatory was dismantled and a lovely octagonal room was built for Mr. Archer’s gun collection. This mahogany-paneled room with an unusual ceiling of butternut has since been converted into the Library. Marble fireplaces here and in the bedroom above add to the beauty of these rooms.
The St. Paul Branch of the AAUW purchased the house in December 1949 from Doris Archer, widow of Shreve Archer. The house now has twenty-five rooms, ten baths, and seven fireplaces.
We have endeavored to maintain the charm and elegance of the house. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.