George and Jennie Williams House 1721 Princeton Avenue

The George and Jennie Williams home was built in 1909 for the cost of $3,500. Designed in the Dutch Colonial style, the house was the first wood frame building built on its city block. Its distinguished windows, Dutch gables, and cut stone foundation make it very unique. The neighborhood where the house is located was platted as Macalester Park in 1883, and the subdivision of Block 10, the Williams built on was platted in 1887.

George Williams was born 1856 in Ystrad Mynach, Caerphilly, Wales. He immigrated to the United States in 1880, and settled in Minnesota. It is unknown where he lived the first decade in Minnesota, but by 1890 he had moved to Saint Paul. His first home in Saint Paul was with the John Birch family on Spruce Street in Lowertown. He met his future wife, Jennie Birch, while living with the family. George and Jennie were married in Saint Paul on October 26th, 1892, and together had two children. Their son Trevor George Williams was born in 1893, and daughter Rachel Marrian Williams in 1902 in Saint Paul.

The Birch and Williams families moved from Lowertown to the Summit Hill neighborhood in 1893. The two families lived at various time on Selby Avenue and Snelling Avenue. While the Williams family’s new house at 1721 Princeton was under construction, they lived in the Birch family household at 385 North Snelling Avenue. They commenced work on their new home in May of 1909, and the house was ready for occupancy that September.

When the Williams family moved into the house, George was 53, Jennie, 42, Trevor, 16, and Rachel, 7. George had been working as a clerk for the Railway Mail Service for almost two decades in 1909. The family stayed in the house until George and Jennie’s death in 1922. Over its many years as a private residence it has sheltered teachers, professors, and other staff from Macalester College.