Last house standing in Anoka

The Anoka County Union wrote in the Aug. 13, 1924 issue the following announcement.

“The finest home in Anoka will be that of Dr. and Mrs. Harry Kline when it is finished. It is of fireproof construction throughout, with steel framework, tile partitions, and cut sandstone face, accurately fitted.

“Every piece of stone was cut at the quarry and numbered and lettered to show where it belonged. The window frames are of steel.

There was a long incline to the basement garage.

“Work on such construction is necessarily slow, but when is done it will be durable and picturesque.”

That 1924 article said durable….I guess so. That is why I titled this chapter, “The Last House Standing.”

I don’t think you can find another home in Anoka County, or maybe in Minnesota, built like this home.

I think you will agree after I describe the construction of the entire building.

The foundation is a full foot thick and is poured concrete reinforced with steel rods. The exterior walls are also 12 inches thick. There  is four inches of Kasota stone, one inch of  dead air space, four inches of hollow tile, one inch of dead air space, another four inches of hollow tile and then the interior plaster.

The architects believed that with four dead air spaces there would be no need for insulation back in 1924. All interior walls are also four inch hollow tile.

All of the window sills on the first floor are marble. All interior doors and wood trim are solid oak.

As the 1924 article stated, the windows are steel framed. The glass in those frames is laminated glass like the windshield in your car.

I lived in the home from 1961 to 1981, many times I hit tennis balls on the back of the house and if it hit the window it just bounced back with no broken glass.

The only wood in the house besides the oak doors and trim, were the rafters in the roof. The roof was solid sheets of copper.

Mrs. Kline told me that there was a small leak in the roof a few years after Dr. Kline died and a local contractor talked her into getting rid of the copper and replaced it with asphalt.

She said she always wondered what the contractor did with the copper he hauled away. I think we know.

The heat plant was a huge boiler providing steam heat and hot water. At first, it was coal fired and later converted to oil.

Phil DeJarlais of Champlin, a longtime employee at the Kline Sanitarium, tended the boilers at both places.

He had good training by his father who was the boiler master at both the Champlin feed mill and the Washburn Mill in Anoka on the Rum River Dam.

Mrs. Kline told me that besides Phil DeJarlais, I was the only other person to see the inside of her home after Dr. Harry passed away when she showed it to me in May 1960.

Next time I will write more about the curiosity and mysteries about this big stone house at 317 Rice Street.

Editor’s note: Tom Ward serves on the Anoka County Historical Society’s board of directors.

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