1A Last house standing will soon fall

By Matt Russell

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

For months now, an old red and white house near downtown Rochester has been the last home on its block after the land behind it was turned into a parking lot.

Today, it looks like the days are numbered for 110 Sixth Ave. N.W., a story-and-a-half house with a front porch that looks out on the busy street. The family who lives there plans to move elsewhere in Rochester next month, and their house could be leveled in June.

The house’s upcoming demolition is just one of several changes happening in a six-block area on the west side of downtown Rochester.


Mayo Clinic opened a sparkling new employee health club a block south of 110 Sixth Ave. N.W. less than a year ago, and this summer the clinic plans to open an eight-level, 800-space parking ramp on the block behind the house, to the east. Even bigger changes are possible in a couple of years when Lourdes High School, a longtime neighborhood cornerstone located across the street from 110 Sixth Ave. N.W., moves to a new building miles away.

Seven houses and a small warehouse were demolished last fall to clear space for a parking lot, and as a result, 110 Sixth Ave. N.W. was the only building left standing on its block as details were finalized for the house’s sale.

The house was built in 1916, two years after Mayo Clinic opened its first medical building just blocks away. During the decades that followed, the home’s block was densely populated, packed with houses, small apartment buildings, and, for decades, a Nazarene church.

As its houses aged, the neighborhood changed.

Lourdes High School went up in 1941 and expanded over the years. A convent across the street from the home was razed in 1977 and replaced by a parking lot. Hundreds more parking spaces arrived across another street when Mayo Clinic constructed an employee parking ramp.

In all, 185 parking spaces now fill the block the house sits on, according to city records, with some used by a nearby hotel and the rest dedicated to Mayo Clinic employees.

Approximately 40 parking spaces will be added when 110 Sixth Ave. N.W. is torn down, and a variety of development plans are still being considered for the block.

Years from now, there will be little sign that the house at 110 Sixth Ave. N.W. ever existed. But for now, at least, it’s the final reminder of what one Rochester neighborhood once used to be.

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