Fall Tour 2023

Modernist Gems on Lexington Parkway

Saturday, October 21, 2023, 9:30 a.m.

MNSAH’s fall tour will feature two modernist homes perched on a dramatic hillside on St. Paul’s Lexington Parkway. The adjacent houses were designed just over 20 years apart for the same client.

Fry-I-house-center-with-Fry-II-house-at-far-right-Photo-courtesy-Spacecrafting Living room Fry I house. Photo: courtesy Spacecrafting Stairway-Fry-I-house-Photo-courtesy-Spacecrafting Fry-II-house-shown-perched-in-the-treetops-Photo-Rolf-Anderson Living-room-Fry-II-house-Photo-Rolf-Anderson
Fry I house center with Fry II house at far right. Photo: courtesy Spacecrafting

In 1956, architect Elizabeth Scheu Close designed a house at 641 Lexington Parkway South for landscape architect Marion Fry and her husband Robert. Referred to as Fry I, the house is built into a steep, heavily wooded site that rises 36 feet from front to back. An open staircase provides access from the ground-floor level entry to the kitchen, dining, and living areas on the second floor. Generous expanses of windows provide an abundance of light and impressive views. Featuring concrete block and redwood siding, the house connects to the landscape via terraces and a deck that wraps around the upper level.

In 1979, Marion Fry subdivided her property and commissioned a second house on land immediately to the north of her original home. Her motivation was to move to a more practical house in which she could age. For this house, Fry chose architect Jeri Zuber, who incorporated an elevator in the design for the house. The three-level Fry II house embraces the site in an even more dramatic fashion than the first. But like the first house, Fry’s second home includes expanses of windows that flood the house with light as well as decks and terraces designed for outdoor living.

The tour will be led by architectural historian Jane King Hession, who wrote the award-winning book Elizabeth Scheu Close: A Life in Modern Architecture, and architect Jeri Zuber. Our hosts at the Fry I house are Paul Metzger and Lisa Hamlin and our hosts at the Fry II house are Paul Olson and Kelly Johnson.

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Date: Saturday, October 21, 2023
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Where: We will meet at the Fry II house at 633 Lexington Parkway South, St. Paul, which is just over a mile north of Lexington Parkway’s intersection with West 7th Street. Parking is available only on the east side of the street. Please park, cross Lexington Avenue, and proceed up the driveway to the house.
Cost: $15 for members and $25 for non-members


Questions: Email info@mnsah.org


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