Frogtown: Lost Frogtown

Tour curated by: Special thanks to author Jane McClure

Like so many of St. Paul’s first-ring neighborhoods, Frogtown has lost more than its share of historic and unique structures. Businesses and industries, churches, schools and countless homes have been torn down or burned down. Whether it was a large and once-grand home, an old corner store, a church or a barn on the back of a lot, the lost buildings of Frogtown leave holes in the community fabric.

Some of the pieces of Lost Frogtown, including institutions, schools, businesses and homes, are noted in other tours. Here is a look back at a dozen unique structures and places.

Locations for Tour

Built in 1911 at the southwest corner of University Avenue and Dale Street, the Faust was the neighborhood theater for generations of Frogtown and Rondo residents. The once-beautiful building had ornate brick detail, as well as stucco and wood…

- 507 N. Dale Street - The beautiful Gothic Revival style brick church was a landmark in Frogtown from 1919 until its demolition in 2010. The church, designed by Saint Paul architect William Alban, had a four-story spire, a lancet arched entry and…

- 3121 Edmund Avenue - This beautiful and detailed wooden church was built in 1886. Like so many other Frogtown congregations it began as a mission church in 1885. Mission churches were typically started by larger churches although it’s not clear…

Most of the industrial buildings in and around the Dale Street shops were large, utilitarian structures. One exception was the main office building for the St. Paul Foundry, which stood at 500 Como Av. The two-story brick building was designed by…

Rapinwax Paper operated in Frogtown for many years at 293 Como Av. The company made wax paper for food handling and food preservation. In the days before plastic wrap and resealable plastic food bags, wax paper was a staple in every kitchen and…

- 289 Como Avenue - On the site of what is now a storage business was one of Saint Paul’s most memorable taverns. In 1936, two 1887 Pullman coaches that once graced Northern Pacific's Chicago-to-Seattle line were transformed into a tavern.…

Aurora Park, also known as the Dale and Aurora Grounds or Comiskey Park, was Frogtown’s minor league baseball park. In 1895 Charles Comiskey started Saint Paul’s team in the fledgling Western League. Comiskey was one of the great first basemen…

Aurora Park was the site of an ill-fated Saint Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace in 1896. Weather didn’t cooperate and the palace had to be scaled back from a more grand size. Fort Karnival was more of an ice stockade and was designed by military…

Frogtown once had a mansion district along University and Sherburne avenues, near today’s state capitol. The mansions of some of Saint Paul’s richest and most powerful people looked out over the downtown area. One mansion owner was William…