Dayton's Bluff is an Overlooked Gem

The Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood of Saint Paul is an area full of beautiful sights.  It is built along the edge of the majestic Mississippi River valley.  It has a stellar view of the downtown skyline, which twinkles with different colors lights each night. And then of course, it has a good view of the setting sun.  As an added bonus, many of the homes built here are fine examples of good architecture.

Yet hundreds of homes in Dayton’s Bluff stand vacant as a result of a foreclosure crisis. Dayton's Bluff activists are working towards changing that.

Community leaders are hosting a Dayton’s Bluff Vacant Home Tour this Sunday that they hope will rekindle the same enthusiasm for the neighborhood that a two-day version of the home-tour event in early May did.  About 300 people visited 12 vacant homes in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood at that time. Many rode a trolley to and from the 12 vacant houses and duplex units on display.

The results?  Seven of the 12 residences eventually were sold. Sales are pending on two others.  Once they have sold, that would be a 75% success rate.

Many of the houses have been standing empty with deferred maintenance and will require fixes.  Buyers that are willing to do the work will find themselves among other like-minded individuals. Residents of the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood value historic preservation.  As a matter of fact, This Old House magazine named Dayton's Bluff as one of the nation's 50 best places to buy an old house in its July/August issue.

For Sunday's tour, the Dayton's Bluff Vacant Building Committee hopes to show about half of the 16 prospects, all of which are registered vacant with the city.

Of the neighborhood, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said "It's incredible. This is an unbelievable neighborhood. People need to know that story."  Coleman was on hand to help launch the first tour.  He has said that the neighborhood should be saluted for its creativity. "We have a housing stock here that is the envy of other communities across the region."

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