The mansion at 495 Summit Avenue was built in 1881 for Cyrus and Mary Thurston. Although the architect is unknown, it is likely that the house was designed by local architect Augustus F. Gauger. Gauger experimented early on with the Queen Anne style, and incorporated many of his signature touches into this house. Built for a cost of $18,000, the house was one of the most advanced houses architecturally, showing the “new” Queen Anne style which was sweeping the nation at the time. The exterior of the house is nearly all intact, but is missing its original porch and greenhouse which stood on the east side of the first floor.
Cyrus Brooks Thurston was born on January 21st, 1834, in Granville, Ohio. He married Mary Harrison on March 16th, 1858, in Columbus, Ohio, and by 1860 Cyrus was working as a farmer. By 1870 they were living in Saint Paul, and Cyrus was working as a traveling salesman. In the 1870’s Cyrus started “C.B. Thurston and Sons”, a company dealing in carriages and architectural implements, and went on to start a cold storage company near downtown Saint Paul. After making a fortune, Cyrus and Mary decided to invest in a home on Summit Avenue.
The Thurstons lived in their home on Summit Avenue until 1894, a year after the nation went through a great financial panic where many wealthy people lost their money and homes. They moved to 576 Lincoln Avenue, a house also designed by Augustus Gauger. Cyrus Thurston lived in Saint Paul until his death on February 27th, 1915. Mary lived in Saint Paul until her death on October 24th, 1921. Their family home on Summit Avenue is still a private residence today.