Eastcliff, one of St. Paul’s mansions on the banks of the Mississippi River, has a historic architectural, academic, and political legacy. From the multiple bedrooms to the library, the carriage house to the catering kitchen, the tennis court to the saltwater pool, each element of the 10,000 square foot property has a story to tell.
That’s why Karen Fultz Koehler, former Eastcliff homeowner and wife of former University of Minnesota President Eric Koehler (2011-2019), writes about me in her book Eastcliff: A History of Housing. We are inviting them into this glorious mansion. Built and designed for lumber magnate Edward Brooks in 1922 by architect C.H. Johnston Sr., this Colonial Revival-style mansion flaunts a white facade and a symmetrical rectangular exterior. Meanwhile, a spacious foyer filled with photographs, a long hallway originally used for target practice, and a central fireplace further enhance the grand interior design. Details from within the luxurious walls reveal family drama, under-the-table business dealings, and secret flourishes, all of which paint an untold account of Minnesota history.
Its history is not limited to housing design. In fact, since 1961, eight University of Minnesota presidents have lived in Eastcliff, the president’s official residence, with Helen Keller, the Dalai Lama, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey among the notables who have visited the mansion. Not too much. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places for the past 100 years. Pick up a copy, step into East Cliff and experience both the design and decades of history that make this home so memorable.