Inspired by the works of Eugene J. Carpenter, John Kistler of Minneapolis has become a scholar on his life and has worked directly on projects that Carpenter himself worked on generations before. Here, he shares with readers a few details of the celebrated business man’s life and the achievements he made in Minnesota.
John Kistler of Minneapolis is a preservation activist who frequently gets involved in local projects to help save and improve historical architecture. Many historic properties around the city have been slated for demolition in recent years to make room for new developments, but, with the help of Kistler, many have been restored to their former glory.
The mid to late 19th century was a historically significant time period for architecture in the state as great wealth was used to construct magnificent building projects, mostly in mansions and professional buildings. Over the years, many of these historic houses have been destroyed, unfortunately causing cities like Minneapolis to lose much of their vintage charm and character. Preservationists like John Kistler of Minneapolis oversee restoration projects or else personally finance efforts to restore historic properties.
“Many of these historic properties are like windows into our distant past and the lives of those who built the cities we live in today,” says John Kistler of Minneapolis. “When they’re gone, we lose those pieces of our history that used to stand so proudly among the earliest downtown buildings.”
Besides helping to restore the Oakland apartments in town, John Kistler of Minneapolis oversaw the restoration of the Eugene J. Carpenter house. Exploring his life and learning about his historical significance in the city during the project, Kistler quickly became a scholar on his life.
“The Eugene J. Carpenter house is one of the most impressive homes in town, and it would have been a truly significant loss had the demolition proceeded,” says John Kistler of Minneapolis. “He was a significant leader in our city whose architectural taste had an impact on future buildings in town.”
Eugene Carpenter and his wife Merrette Lamb came from lumber milling families and together were owners of the Carpenter-Lamb Lumber Co. in Minneapolis. Their business helped fuel a local industry that boomed across the state and beyond. He purchased his mansion in 1905, originally built by famed architect C.M Douglas, and began drawing up plans to turn the 17,000 square-foot Victorian style house into a Georgian Revival. The task was a tremendous undertaking but was successfully completed soon after, the charming style Carpenter commissioned still visible today thanks to preservation efforts.
“Eugene J. Carpenter was also a patron of the arts,” says John Kistler. “Among other notable achievements, Carpenter was an instrumental component in establishing the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts.”
The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts boasts one of the most robust art collections in the state, consisting of more than 90,000 works of art that represent 5,000 years of world history. Over the years, it has hosted many programs for local residents to enjoy or participate in art while educating themselves on thousands of years of world heritage.
“Eugene J. Carpenter was one of the most impressive and active citizens our city has ever known, and the work he undertook and the projects he started live on today, demonstrating his high importance to Minnesota,” says John Kistler of Minneapolis.