370 Summit Avenue - The Architect
Built in 1909 by noted Minnesota architect, Clarence H. Johnston, 370 Summit took its place on the bluff along with other Victorian-era mansions in fulfillment of Bond's prescient view. A Georgian Revival design, it is located on the easternmost section of the avenue lining the bluff from Ramsey Hill to The Cathedral of Saint Paul and falls within the National Register Historic Hill District. Most of the mansions in the District were built in the late 1800s and are noted as fine examples of Victorian architectural styles such as Beaux Arts, Queen Anne, Georgian Revival, Second Empire, Tudor and Italian Villa.
At the turn of the century the two most prominent architects in Minnesota were Cass Gilbert and Clarence H. Johnston. Cass Gilbert, architect of the Minnesota State Capitol, moved on to national fame as the architect of the 1919 neo-gothic Woolworth skyscraper in New York and the 1935 neo-classical Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC. Johnston remained in Minnesota his entire career and became the most sought after residential architect for two generations of Saint Paul's upper classes. Forty-two of his designs are on Summit Avenue. Those designs contributed to the 2008 designation of Summit Avenue by the American Planning Association as one of the ten "Great Streets" in the United States acclaiming it as the best preserved of the country's Victorian-era residential boulevards.
Johnston's architectural practice spanned fifty-four years and for thirty of those years he served as the Minnesota State Architect designing many of the buildings on state-owned sites including thirty-nine buildings on the University of Minnesota campuses. The Glensheen/Congdon Mansion on the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth, the Minnesota Club in Saint Paul, the Northrup Auditorium at the University of Minnesota and the first home of the State Historical Society located next to the State Capitol are examples of his work.
Paul Larson in his definitive book Minnesota Architect: The Life and Work of Clarence H. Johnston described 370 Summit as being an "English variation of the Georgian Revival style that carried an undeniable air of scholarship and propriety"