The City of Winona, working through its Heritage Preservation Commission, asked us to write local historic designation nominations for two important residences.
The Paul Watkins House is significant for its association with Paul Watkins and the Watkins Products Company, one of the major industries in Winona history. The house is also significant as an outstanding architectural work, designed by the firm of Cram & Ferguson. The house was begun in 1924 and completed in 1927.Describing the project in a 1928 article in The American Architect, Ralph Cram stated that his primary design consideration “was the providing of a right setting for a very remarkable collection of works of old art and craftsmanship gathered during many years from various parts of Europe. . . . This collection of art work . . . determined very largely the type of house that must be made to house them.”
The HuffLamberton house is significant due to its association with Henry Huff, one of the principal founders of the city of Winona, as well as its association with the Lamberton family. In addition, it is one of the finest examples of the Italianate style of architecture in Minnesota, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976. Charles Nelson, long time architectural historian at the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, called it “one of the earliest and best-preserved residences of the Italian Villa style in the state of Minnesota,” adding that the house “with the exception of the Henry H. Sibley home in Mendota is the oldest of the more elegant homes in Minnesota.”