Germans were one of the earliest immigrant groups that came to Saint Paul. As many of them became prosperous, they moved into Dayton’s Bluff and built substantial homes for their families. Several, including the home of Adolph and Anna Muench, were set at the edge of the bluff to take advantage of the descending landscape that allowed for a view of Phalen Creek and the Mississippi River. The Munches began residing at this address in 1873, in an earlier house that burned down in 1884. The current structure was built the same year.
Adolph was a prominent member of the German American community. He was in the lumber business until becoming publisher of the Volkszeitung, a German-language daily newspaper. Anna passed away in 1896 and, when Adolph died in 1901, the house was offered for sale. After staying empty for two years, it was converted into duplex and was rental property for several decades.
One descendant fondly remembered the traditional Fourth of July parties at the house. The lawn was dotted with Japanese lanterns and carriages were crowded in the turnaround. Every summer there were ice cream socials among the lilac bushes and oak trees.
Local architect Emi Ulrici designed the new house that was completed at 653 East Fifth Street. Ulrici, a German-American, who built almost exclusively for his prosperous fellow immigrants that were scattered throughout Saint Paul in the 1880s. This Queen Anne style with asymmetrical towers gables and balconies with a traditional tower is considered the finest of his surviving residential commissions. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and once again is owner occupied.