Ramsey County History – Fall 2005: “Stonebridge: The Story of a Lost Estate and Oliver Crosby, the Inventive Genius Who Created It”

Jay Pfaender

Stonebridge: The Story of a Lost Estate and Oliver Crosby, the Inventive Genius Who Created It
Author: Jay Pfaender

Even in the Groveland neighborhood, little is remembered about Stonebridge, an estate built by St. Paul businessman and civic leader Oliver Crosby. A New Englander from Maine, he came to St. Paul in 1876 with an inclination for mechanics. Crosby became a holder of thirty-six patents and founded American Hoist and Derrick, a business that built and repaired heavy equipment. Crosby’s first home, at 804 Lincoln, was a splendid limestone structure designed by Clarence Johnston Jr. But Crosby wanted a mansion and, in 1907, purchased twenty-eight acres on the western bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. The new brick mansion with twenty-four main rooms was built on a beautifully designed site. It was named after a stone bridge that crossed a ravine on the property, which included two artificial lakes and a reservoir to feed waterfalls. There were also large sunken gardens, a hundred-foot-long pergola, a greenhouse, and a nine-car garage. Crosby moved there in 1916 but died six years later. His wife lived in the mansion for a time and then sold it to John Cable, a 3M executive. In 1928, much of the estate was sold off for development, but the mansion remained on a three-acre site. Frederick Crosby lived in the home from 1928 to 1935, but development of the property lagged because of the Great Depression. Eventually the mansion was razed in 1953 to make way for the construction of new houses.
PDF of Pfaender article