If you follow the River 10 miles north of Stillwater, there is a grand white-colonial home “of northern New England architecture” that stands tall on the hill overlooking the village of Marine on Saint Croix. Built in 1856, The Asa Parker House is located along Highway 95, just before the entrance to William O’Brien State Park. The first chapter of this house begins with Asa Parker. A partner in Marine’s first Lumber Company, he joined Marine Lumber in 1838 and is one of a few men from the company at that time that built homes on the hill. Parker originally built the house as a single-family home for him and his wife Isabella.
Described as a, “quiet, unobtrusive man” Parker married Isabella in 1859. Isabella came from Virginia, and is said to have brought a certain southern charm to the home with her including; furnishings and fine shrubs such as peonies and white lilacs. Following Parker’s death, the property carried on as a single-family home. By 1990, the then 134-year-old home was transformed into a Bed & Breakfast.
After decades of being a single-family home, and 20 years of operating the property as a Bed & Breakfast, by 2015 the house was vacant and in foreclosure. That is when longtime Marine resident Jack Warren stepped into the story, and started the second chapter of the Asa Parker House. Warren, a native New Yorker, and his wife moved to Minnesota over 55 years ago for his job with 3M. While living in St. Paul, the Warrens discovered Marine on Saint Croix. They were drawn to the sense of community, and decided it was a place to move their family. During their time in Marine, Warren served on the planning commission and volunteer fire department. For years Jack admired the Asa Parker House, and often dreamed of buying the home, but could never make sense of the cost or floor plan for his wife and kids. As he watched the house slowly come apart, he became concerned that the home was in jeopardy. So, when the house came up for auction (and with the blessing of his family) Jack decided to rescue the property. His vision for the house was to preserve and restore the classic character, but to also update it. The goal was to make the property a single-family home that would work for a modern family.
For the project, Warren enlisted the help of architect Eric Hansen, of E.J. Hansen, who has worked on several historic renovations. Early on they learned that the house had some major structural issues and Hansen described his first impression of the project as, “running a marathon.” Part of the floor was framed incorrectly, there was a century old leak in the roof that rotted some timber beams, and a major support had broken. The kitchen - not original to the house was structurally unstable, they removed the fireplace, appliances, drywall and most of the west half of the home. However, with Warren’s determination, Hansen’s experience, and the help of Hagstrom Builders, the renovation of the Asa Parker House marched on.
Hansen designed a three story addition that features a large kitchen, a center island, a see-through fireplace, a media room and an additional bedroom. The renovation also includes: new dormers, windows, doors, insulation, ventilation, an internal gutter system – original to the house - and floor heating. Due to its condition, some of the original woodwork could not be preserved, but the new woodwork was designed to match the originals of that time period. In his final years, Warren battled cancer, so he established a trust to fund the project. A year ago, at the age of 83, Warren passed away. After his death, Warren’s daughter Julie saw the process through.
With the renovations complete, the 4,000 square foot, four-bedroom, 3-bath home and its one acre lot is on the market. Listed with Elliot Hagstrom of Caldwell Banker Burnet, Hagstrom describes the Asa Parker House as, “An 1850’s home that is stunningly beautiful, exceptionally done and true to its time. With the open floor plan, natural light, open spaces and private nooks, the home is perfect for a bustling family.”
As best described by Warren himself, “The Asa Parker House is a historic house from another era but fully functional for today’s world.” Located in the heart of Marine, the home is ready for its next chapter, for its next family.
If you are interested in learning more about the property, please contact Elliot Hagstrom 651-324-4137 or Krista Wolter 612-247-5106 of Coldwell Banker Burnet.