In the Minneapolis City Directory of 1886-87, the original owner of this home, Frank Kost, is listed as a "band leader" and lived a few blocks away at 1709 North Second Street. By 1888-89 Kost was listed as a North Side realtor (Frank Kost and Company, Real Estate and Loans, Plymouth and North Washington Avenues), and ran an insurance company in this home at 1625-27 Dupont, which had a separate entrance at the building’s southeast corner. Historian Fred Neet speculates that "perhaps a musician’s income, lucrative enough during the city’s golden age of exploding prosperity, could have financed even greater rewards to be had in real estate speculation as the population of Minneapolis increased from 46,887 to 164,738 between 1880-90 ("Local Heritage"). 1
Neet also notes that "except for an adjacent lot which remained vacant for more than a decade, the surrounding neighborhood was sufficiently developed and dense to support both a public library and the Fourth Baptist Church only a block away. The carriage house by contrast, built in 1903 by a subsequent owner, was not constructed until the City had recovered somewhat from the national economic depression resulting from the panic of 1893" (Neet, "Local Heritage"). 2
As in most houses of this era before steam shovels, the foundation was dug by hand. The house has a full basement under part of the house, and a crawl space under the other part. In the crawl space area, there are still several stumps of the oak trees that were cut down to build the house.
Although most original carriage houses in the neighborhood have been torn down for garages, this home still has the original carriage house that Neet mentioned. The existence of an original carriage house reminds us that this was a neighborhood where the primary means of transportation was originally horsepower.
A later owner, dentist William Brombach, set up his dental office here; he and his wife lived next door at 1623 Dupont. Dr. Brombach kept gold for fillings in the walk-in, fire-proof vault under the stairs, where Kost had stored his insurance documents. Dr. Brombach provided free dental check-ups to Ascension students every year for many years.
"The Kost House is a simplified Folk Victorian two-story clapboard structure, re-sided [with steel siding] in 1970. It has a truncated hipped roof with front and cross gables, and patterned wood shingles in the front and northside gable triangles. The front porch is partial width. [Lathe-turned] spindle work decorates front and back porches and a second-level side porch. The carved wood door has been restored. A double gable graces the north side, atop a two-story bay...The dominant front [picture] window and front door both have transom lights.” (Neet, “Local Heritage”)
All the windows in the bays are replacements. The north and west facades have multiple two-story additions.
The original carriage still has its hayloft door; however, the carriage house's cupola/tower no longer exists. A side gable faces the house, and the clapboard wall surface extends unbroken into the gables.
1. Neet, Fred. Local Heritage Preservation Designation Study: Frank J. Kost House and Carriage House. Rep. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, 1986. Print.
2. Neet, Fred. Local Heritage Preservation Designation Study: Frank J. Kost House and Carriage House. Rep. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, 1986. Print.