Welcome to the Stone Saloon!
The Stone Saloon is the oldest surviving saloon building in Minneapolis/St. Paul! Our careful restoration of this pre-Civil War time capsule is still in progress, so this site is just a taste of things to come. Bookmark us and check back once in a while. And if all goes according to plan, stop in someday for a tall drink of the past!
After months of being shrouded in plywood, the building's new facade was finally revealed in late May. It was the culmination of six months of meticulous work--much of it with hand-tools--by master carpenters Tom Dengler and Fred Livesay. Lest anyone doubt, the new facade scrupulously adheres to the design and function of the building's original 1850s commercial storefront, which was filled in with stonemasonry during a 1880s rehab job. Note the hand-blown glass panes, which are actually laminated to safety glass to conform with modern commercial code. And if you examine the the face of the columns and the paneling on the corner pilasters, you'll see the marks of hand scrub-planing, as well as the heads of square-cut nails (yes, Tom and Fred salvaged and reused the originals). The paint is Swedish Allback 100% linseed oil paint--all natural, solvent-free, and guaranteed to last 50 years. Don't worry though, the white color is just the primer coat. We continue to research the most appropriate color palette for the finish coat. Have any suggestions? Let us know! Now it's on to installing the stone slabs on the stoop!
Working throughout the winter solely by the heat of the Stone Saloon's woodburning stove, with a copy of Chapman's 1832 Practical Carpentry on the workbench (to say nothing of Templeton's Rye), carpenters Tom Dengler and Fred Livesay meticulously executed architect John Yust's drawings in a way that make the renewed facade of the Stone Saloon not just historically accurate, but a work of art. Tom apprenticed in Massachusetts, is an accomplished wood-carver and a veteran of numerous historic restorations and recreations. Fred originally trained as a wheelwright and carriage-builder, then went on to study Scandinavian folk art and craft in Sweden, and has taught at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN since its founding (among several other craft schools and festivals). Together Tom and Fred employed their varied collection of 19th century woodblock planes and other hand tools on the project, producing most of the frieze and cornice moldings by hand and scrub-planing the face of the columns and pilaster panels. [Photography by Craig Johnson www.craigajohnson.com]
These wrought iron beer stein flag holders were made especially for the front facade of the Stone Saloon by nationally-renown blacksmith Tom Latane (Pepin, WI) who collaborated with apprentice-in-training Aaron Beck (Martha's Vinyard, MA). The handle of each beer stein magically hinges outward to release the base of the flagpole. One bracket will hold an 1857 American flag; the other could display any number of historic German, Civil War or state flags.
In 2012 we rebuilt the roof, using natural cedar shingles and all copper flashings, gutters and downspouts. In 2013 we re-tuckpointed the entire exterior of the building and built a new stone stoop on the public right-of-way, thanks to an easement from the City of St. Paul. This year we're rebuilding the original front commercial facade, including the central entrance door and two large shop windows and commercial cornice above. The new window sash have been meticulously made of Wisconsin white pine to match the original design, and will contain 18 panes of hand-blown glass laminated to safety glass to comply with commercial code.
In February 2014 we celebrated the installation of the first of two cast iron Morso stoves--this one in the front room of the Stone Saloon. The Morso Stove Company dates to 1853 on the Limfjord island of Mors, Denmark. They manufacture these small but powerful wood stoves in much the same today as they did in the 1850s, but with UL Listing. Someday soon tables and chairs will surround these stoves, and initial testing has verified that in the winter there's absolutely no better place to have a beer!