Website of Joe Landsberger

Home is
where the heart is.
Gaius Plinius Secundas
(Pliny the Elder) 23 - 79,
Roman author

Home Renovations Index:

Goodrich Avenue Residence
Restoration & Renovation

3From this, 1979 to this 1996 5

Alley view, 1955. 
My house is the second from left. The first, its garage, and the third house are now lost from fire.

My old house
and its additions

Il buono e il bello

Joseph Haag

Joseph Haag

St. Paul Daily Globe, May 2. 1896
History adapted from:
Thursday Night Hikes: Irvine/Cherokee Park Hike Architecture Notes, Part 3.1 Observations on Architectural Styles Irvine Park to Cherokee Park Hike
Assembled by Lawrence A. Martin

House history 1300 sq ft

My primary residence was built in 1886 by Joseph and Frances Haag, who raised five children in their home that they built next door at 118 Leech.  Joseph (1852-1915) immigrated in 1856 and Frances in 1855. He was a German tinsmith and hardware dealer whose shop was located at 305-309 West Seventh Street in St. Paul.

Both houses were built by the Lauer Brothers who were responsible for many West 7th buildings. 118 was razed in 1973. A house next to mine at 169, 161 Goodrich, was built before 1886 but razed in 1971.

In 1900 George and Emile Graff and their two daughters lived at 169. 

In 1910 an Irish family, David and Bridget Hurley and their three daughters and one granddaughter and 8(!) lodgers.lived at 169!  Where?

Notably, Joseph Haag was raised on the same block. His parents, Valentine and Annie Haag, built their first home in St. Paul at 88 Leech (then numbered 13 McBoal). Their original 1857 homestead still stands near the alley to the rear of 88 Leech, where it is currently used as a shed. Several other "alley houses" (some pre-dating the Civil War) can be found in my neighborhood of "Uppertown", most having been converted to garages or storage sheds.

Oakland Cemetery Association records indicate that Anthony Herbeck (1878-1918,) a barber and the husband of Sophie Herbeck, who was born in Germany to parents who were born in Germany and who died of pulmonary tuberculosis, resided at this address in 1918.

1979: The picture above was a "sales" photo when I bought the house. There were two layers of siding, asphalt and asbestos, hiding the original beautiful clapboard and wood trim that I was unaware of when I bought the house. 

back of 169 goodrich in 1979

Back entry, with glimpses of its pear tree
and an apple tree at the back

Each of those first years, one side at a time over years, I removed the two layers of siding, replaced wood detail trim, and primed and painted around the house. My first paint job was tasteless, but after many trips up and down the ladder, I settled on a very Scandinavian color scheme

House style

Generally a neo-gothic, Victorian stick style home is constructed of wood; and is angular, asymmetrical, vertical and has a lot of detailing! This style originated with Andrew Jackson Downing (1815 –52) and house pattern books of the 1860s and 1870s. Downing also founded the magazine “Horticulturist” and was known for his garden and park design.


A representative of the Victorian Stick Style, my house features this typical gabled, steeply pitched roof with overhangs. The house has lost its original wrap-around porch, first floor tall windows, and southwest bay. Arguably the house could also represent the Eastlake Style--with its gable ends and porch posts covered with decorative cutout patterns, drilled holes, jigsaw and lathe work in wood.

History of renovations and additions:

Circa 1870-80: house built in downtown Saint Paul then moved to neighborhood on Leech Street
Circa 1888: House moved to face the bluff on Goodrich Avenue
1979: Purchased by Joe Landsberger
1982: first addition built to the east; deck added.
1990: Renovate second floor bathroom: moved bath to back stairwell, moved toilet to closet, installed new sink, replace floor
1991: Renovate first floor with new walls, baseboards, arches, refinish floors.
1992: New furnace
1993: "Project Swedish Dacha/Datja":
Second addition above first
1996: Carpet front stair; custom cabinet for kitchen
1997:  Wood fence around front yard; iron railing for front steps and balcony
1998: Removed asbestos siding from garage and added trim to compliment that of the house.
1998: Build cupola above garage with weathervane.
1999-2000:  Built garden house south on garage.
2002: Timber frame 18 x 25 addition (the great room) to the north; remedied wood and structural rot on the back of the house dating from the 1880's at base from slope.
2012-13: Complete installation of the iron panels for fencing my Leech lot as well as the spectacular Japanese gate/munamon (棟門)
2013: Build "finished" storage room in basement
2013: Build tokonoma (床の間 ) in north addition great room
2013: Totally renovate kitchen!
2014: Redesign and rebuild eastern deck
2014: Redesign and rebuild garden house
2016: Install a moon-viewing, Japanese and timber frame style pavilion
2016: Install reclaimed old-growth white pine flooring in the great room as well as develop an extension of the kitchen into the basement while refinishing its stairwell.


House style/history | renovate 1980 | renovate 1990 | renovate 2000| renovate 2010 |
Garden house | Goodrich Gardens | Leech Gardens | Robie House